Category Archives: My Library

Bunch of Books to Share

Here’s a few books I’ve read recently and wanted to share:

 “Radio Rescue” is a recent release, which I’m very tempted to buy.  I already have several of Jane Jolly’s books and this new one is a gorgeous book.  So, really, do I have any good reasons not to buy it?  Nope.  You’re right.  I should to buy it.

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And it’s an educational book as well.  Yet another reason to buy it.  Plus it’s Australian.  The excuses reasons are growing.

The story introduces the reader to John Flynn and Alfred Traeger, and tells about the morse code radio transmitters that provided the outback with communication.  It also introduces the Flying Doctors Service.

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The illustrations are lovely.  There are black and white illustrations on every page

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and charming fold-out colour images as well.

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Oh course, after reading “Radio Rescue”, we had to read more about John Flynn, the guy on one side of the twenty dollar note.  From my shelves, I pulled an “Aussie Notables” book on John Flynn.  This little book was excellent!  It had been a secondhand purchase, but, after having read it, I need to find more of these.  All of these in fact!!  The book was engaging, full of detail, fairly well written and a smidge humorous as well.

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Plus, how many of the people on our currency do you know anything about.  Given that they are important enough to feature on the notes, we probably should know a little something about them.

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Tank Boys” is a book we just finished reading today.  We LOVED it.  It’s about the capture of the Mephisto, the world’s only surviving WW1 German A7V tank.

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If you’ve been to the Queensland Museum, you’ve probably seen the tank and not given it much thought (although it’s currently in Canberra and not due back on display in Brisbane until late 2018).

Before it returns to Brisbane (or really quickly, if you plan on checking it out at the War Memorial in Canberra), make a point of reading “Tank Boys”.

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There’s nothing like a good story to help bring something alive.

After reading the story, we pulled out our Mephisto guide book and checked out all the facts and details, and pored over the images.

Hurry home Mephisto.  We are itching to visiting you again.

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“The Fabulous Friend Machine” is a picture book I’d seen around the place and decided I needed to borrow and read.   It seemed intriguing.

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The story is a modern cautionary tale about the dangers of social media ‘friends’.

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Popcorn the children from Fiddlesticks Farm finds a “Fabulous Friend Machine”, but, is it?

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She ignores her real friends, and is totally absorbed in her ‘Fabulous Friend Machine’.

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But her ‘Fabulous Friends’ turn out to be not so fabulous.

This is a important tale to tell but perhaps it’s meant to nudge the parent reading it, rather than the child hearing it.

And boy is it a message that needs to be heard – “Look up from your phones.  Life is passing you by.”

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No Ordinary Day” is another book we read recently and enjoyed…if you can ‘enjoy’ a book about poverty and leprosy.

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I like books that make us stop and think, and that make us consider how others live.

In this story, Valli runs away from the people who had been caring for her (‘caring’ in the looses sense of the word) and she ends up living on the streets in Kolkata (once known as Calcutta).  Unbeknown to Valli, she also has leprosy, a disease that plagues the people she calls ‘monsters’.

There are some dark moments in this story, as you’d expect, and a lot of ugliness, but Valli was such an endearing character that it was hard not to like the story.

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Yes, we’ve read plenty of other books recently

but you’ll have to wait for next time to hear all about them.



Posted by on April 30, 2017 in My Library


An Interesting Easter Gift

I am super organised for Easter.

Two weeks ago I ordered some lovely little Easter titles for my nieces.

One of them was “Pinkalicious:  Eggstraordinary Easter”.

Today it arrived.

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When I saw the parcel,

I was somewhat puzzled with its size,

expecting only a couple of tiny picture books.

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Then I opened it.


“Dearest niece, Little Missy 4,

I hope you are interested in a French Dictionary for Easter.”

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PS.  I contacted the store and they have reordered the title for me

and I get to keep the $60 French Dictionary, free of charge.  🙂

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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in Bits and Pieces, Family Life, 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