Saturday, July 30, 2016

Withering-by-Sea: A Stella Montgomery Intrigue by Judith Rossell

Eleven year old Stella Montgomery resides at the Hotel Majestic in Withering-by-Sea with her three terrible Aunts. Set in Victorian times, the Aunts are 'taking the waters' and  partaking of other water treatments designed to increase health and vitality, and attempting to teach Stella correct deportment, manners and other accomplishments suitable for young ladies in between these treatments.

One night, as Stella is sneaking out of her room to recover her Atlas (of which the Aunts definitely would not approve!), she witnesses something terrible, and is plunged head first into an adventure (which includes singing cats, magicians and dancing girls, among other things).

Judith Rossell's fascination with the Victorian era is evident in this extremely well-researched novel. Lots of lovely references to candles, oil lamps, new indoor plumbing...

Be warned - this is the first of a series, the second is in the process of being written, and you WILL want to know what happens next! Don't let that put you off though. The next one, Wormwood Mire, is due out in October!

Winner of the 2015 Indie Book of the Year Children's & YA
Winner of the 2015 ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children
Winner of the 2015 Davitt (Best Children's Crime Novel) Award
Honour Book in the 2015 CBCA Book of the Year: Younger Readers 
Shortlisted for the 2014 Aurealis Award

Category: Junior fiction

Who'll want to read it? Aimed at children aged 9+, fans of Lemony Snicket, the Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis,  and Tensy Farlow by Jen Storer will really enjoy this.

Publisher: ABC Books

Available as a hardcover book, or as an eBook.
Find it now, at Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Pokémon Go at Newcastle Region Library

If you've visited the Civic precinct in Newcastle over the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed an unusual number of people wandering and staring at their phones. That's because Pokémon Go fever has hit Newcastle! Hundreds of people have been converging on Civic Park and the surrounding area to take part in this latest cultural phenomenon, that allows players to catch, collect, evolve, train and battle their favourite pocket monsters. Although playing Pokémon is generally considered the domain of kids, plenty of adults are having fun reliving their childhood and trying to collect all 151 Pokémon.

A Doduo jumping out at a patron at Hamilton Library.

Many branches of Newcastle Region Library have become hotspots of Pokémon activity. Hamilton, New Lambton, Wallsend and Adamstown branches are all pokéstops, where you can load up on useful items such as pokéballs for catching new Pokémon, and various potions for treating Pokémon wounded in battle. Lambton Library is even a pokégym, where players train up or battle their creatures against other teams. Plenty of Pokémon have also been located hiding in the shelves at City branch - a Nidorino has been eluding staff in the Adventure & Travel section over the last few days. Come in and see if you can catch it before we can!

A Nidorino in the Adventure & Travel section at City Library. Still not caught! 

The app utilises augmented reality technology which takes a computer-generated image - in this case, a Pokémon - and superimposes it on the user's smartphone camera to make it look like the creature is right in front of them in the real world. It is not the first time this technology has been utilised. Previously, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and Melbourne implemented the Disney Fairies Trail app, which allowed visitors to use their smartphones to seek fairies whilst exploring different areas of the Gardens. Retail stores are also experimenting with the idea to set up virtual fitting rooms for their customers.

Load up on pokeballs, potions and razz berries at Hamilton Library. 

The Pokémon franchise itself is nothing new. It was created in 1996 and was popularised in Australia through a trading card game. The creation of Japanese video game designer, Satoshi Tajiri, Pokémon was directly inspired by his childhood hobbies of collecting bugs and playing video games. Considered reclusive and eccentric by his peers, Tajiri was dubbed 'Mr Bug' for his seemingly obsessive behaviour. Tajiri has recently confirmed he has Asperger's Syndrome and is a great example of someone who has found a passion in their life and used it to build a successful career.

Choose a team and battle it out at the pokegym at Lambton Library.

If you're having fun playing the app and would like to check out more Pokémon related media, you can access a range of books, graphic novels and DVDs through Newcastle Region Library's catalogue, including the original Pokémon movie and a number of different guides to the world of Pokémon.

Happy hunting!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Newcastle Library know's every kid in Australia has the ability to code so we are encouraging all our youngest patrons to give it a go! Code Club Australia is getting little Australians ready for tomorrow, Wednesday 20th of July to set a world record of getting the most number of children coding at once during the night of a full moon!

There will be two activities to chose from: one in Scratch and one in Python. Jump on over to and sign up. Keep an the Library's Whats On calendar for future coding programs.

Visit Newcastle Region Library's Catalogue and Website.