Category Archives: My Library

Gem From a Clearance Table

You have to ALWAYS check the clearance tables at a bookstore.


Underneath the piles of trashy books,

(and there’s always lots of those),

there are often treasures

just waiting to be found.

Look what I found!

Fortuyn’s Ghost” by Mark Greenwood

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I have a stack of books by this author and the illustrator.

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Mark Wilson has a very distinct type of illustration.

I can always pick his books.

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The author, Mark Greenwood is also a kind of illustrator I suppose

– he illustrates with words.

Reading aloud his books is a delight.

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This book find was so perfectly timed.

It’s about a Dutch ship that was shipwrecked somewhere off the west coast of Australia.

And at the moment, that’s exactly what we’re reading about in History

– early maritime encounters with Australia.

Unfortunately, the Fortuyn had a rather unpleasant ‘encounter’ with Australia,

but, sadly, so did so many other ships.

(I love books that contain an information page for sharing additional information.)

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And  how much did this treasure cost me?

Drum rolls, please.

It was only $2!!!


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Hmmm…maybe I shouldn’t have told everyone about my book buying tip.

Now, all the clearance tables will be picked over.

Okay, just forget everything I said.

You read nothing.


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Posted by on March 16, 2017 in History, My Library


A Hodge-Podge of Recommended Books

Okay, so the first recommendation isn’t a book, it’s a dvd.

But it’s the perfect compliment to books.

Over the holidays, we read about various Portuguese explorers

who went sailing off into the unknown looking for a sea route

to the islands where spices could be found.

At school, I was led to believe that all those maritime explorers

were just off searching for new land,

but it seems that they were just out shopping for spices

and trying to figure out how best to get to the super-spice-market.

It all makes sense now that the explorers have been linked together by a common thread.

So, after all that reading, I found this dvd at our library – “The Spice Trail”.

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I was a little hesitant at first, thinking it could be dead boring,

but it was excellent.

I never knew that spices could be so interesting.

The documentary twines a little history with the cultivation and harvesting of various spices.

We thoroughly enjoyed it and it gave us a better appreciation of spices.

My sons even stopped in front of the spice section at the supermarket

and checked out the various spices they learned about.

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The next recommendation is a book.

It’s a book I chose to read to myself

after hearing others recommend it as their favourite children’s book.

Well, I didn’t think it was ‘that’ good but it was a good book,

especially if you are looking for a book about the issue of poverty and homelessness.

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The story is cleverly crafted for children (probably in upper primary school years)

by placing a giant invisible cat (that’s Crenshaw) in the midst of the story.

Having Crenshaw in the story, makes a deeply emotional issue

a little less scary for a younger audience.

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“Straw into Gold” is my next recommendation

and it’s a BRILLIANTLY written book.

(I’m now on a frantic hunt for all things Schmidt).

The language in this book is superb!

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And discussion starters!  Oh boy!

There are so many discussions that could be had,

centred around the ideas in this little book.

Initially, I picked up the book because I liked the idea of the story –

it’s a follow-on from the story of Rumpelstiltskin

(or, more accurately, “The Miller’s Daughter”).

And, yes, I loved the story,

but what most impressed me was the skill of the author.

This book is gold!

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The last book is an Esolen book.

We’re just starting this book for our bookclub

but I know it will be excellent.

I mean, it’s written by Esolen.  How could we go wrong.

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Don’t panic.  The author isn’t actually hoping to destroy the humanity of children.

The author is pointing out how modern society is leading parents to unconsciously destroy the humanity of their children.

It’s a wake-up call type of book,

just as the author’s book, “Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child”,

was a reminder that our parenting, or lack of it, has very serious consequences.

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Oh, and if you are a fellow ‘Esolen-lover’,

did you know that he has a new book out?

“Out of the Ashes – Rebuilding American Culture”.

It’s already on my shelves and begging me to read it.

But there are these pesky children,

who demand to be educated,

getting in the way of simply dropping everything and binge reading.

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Speaking of children demanding to be educated,

I best go and start our afternoon reading session.

Actually, my students are being very quiet,

hoping that I’ll forget that our lunch break is over.

No such luck kiddos.

It’s read aloud time and I never forget that.

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Posted by on February 14, 2017 in My Library


My Book Bag

Check out my new book bag!

Well, it’s not completely new.

I’ve had it since Christmas.

My Mum made it for me.

And it’s soooo me!

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The outside has ‘textbook’ material.

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And the inside has ‘subject’ material.

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It even has a little pocket for do-dads.

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But my favourite thing about this bag is the quote,

“I cannont live without books”.

Oh how true.


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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in My Library


How We Spent Our ‘Not Ready to Start School’ Week

As I said in my last post, we didn’t start school this week.

However, reading aloud always happens around here.

How else can you fill all those hours in a day if you aren’t reading something?!

So our week still looked rather ‘schooly’, which is pretty normal for us.

We simply aren’t normal people.

Anyway, on Monday, we actually went to a real live school.

Yep, true story!

But, there were no kids.

Well, unless you count my two.

We were helping hubby clean and prepare his classroom for the first day of his school.

Then, on Tuesday, we sat down and polished off eight chapters of “Spice and the Devil’s Cave”.

Great book, by the way.

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On Wednesday, we sat together and read through the remaining chapters of

“Around the World in a Hundred Years: From Henry the Navigator to Magellan”.

If you could only read one book about the Age of Exploration,

then, this is the book I would choose.

It’s very well written and contains fairly detailed chapters on the key explorers –

Prince Henry the Navigator, Bartholomew Dias, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama,

John Cabot, Ferdinand Magellan and others.

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And on Thursday, that’s today, we read Stuart Waldman’s “Magellan’s World”.

This “Great Explorer” series is fantastic.

(We have all except 3 of the books in the series

and this afternoon that number was reduced to 2.)

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Every book in the series is a picture book,

however, the accounts are quite detailed and take a while to read.

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I also loved the fold-out map that we could keep open and in view as we read the account.

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In honour of Australia Day, which is today,

we read a couple of picture books about the First Fleet and the first Australia Day.

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Then, this afternoon, we sat down as a family and watched the documentary,

“Arthur Phillip:  Governor, Sailor, Spy”.

(For my overseas readers, Arthur Phillip was the man in charge of bringing the first colonist/convicts to Australia.

He was also the first governor of our first settlement).

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Gosh the ABC Store has some great documentaries.

I might have to toddle over to their website and see what else they have on offer.

I bought this documentary when their bricks n mortar stores were closing down.

I was one of the only people in the documentary section of the store.

Everyone else was wasting their money on television show merchandise.

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And, tonight, we plan on watching an episode of a documentary about the history of spice.

Tomorrow, will be a social day.

First a trip to the surgeon to remove my stitches,

then a trip to the store to find a birthday present for my youngest niece

(yes, she’s nearly one already!),

and then we’ll spend the afternoon in the park with friends.

All in all, I think it was a pretty good, “Not Ready to Start School” week.


Posted by on January 26, 2017 in Family Life, History, Homeschooling Days, My Library