Sunday 3rd July 2022

Is It REALLY Time for #WhatOnMyBookshelf In June? Yes! 39/2022.

Is It REALLY Time for #WhatOnMyBookshelf In June? Yes! 39/2022.

I asked the question because “I” couldn’t believe it and had to ask Deb when it was…and yes, it’s Friday 17 June 2022…and thanks for the link up!

 “What’s On Your Bookshelf?”

Thanks to Jo, Deb, Sue and Donna who host this.


In 2018 I made 100s of bookmarks for my friend’s charity for people with cancer,  The Big Hug Box. It was great therapy for me as I recovered from my surgeries and giving back always felt good. I stopped in 2019 but continued from time to time making them for friends, putting them in the mail as a surprise, and sharing them if I met up with a friend.

So, do take a “virtual” book mark from me and enjoy this eclectic post!


I’ve become quite the listener and reader recently.

I am using time in the car, and at night when nothing is of interest on a screen, and also to complement my practices of mindfulness…and to remind myself of what is important, what I need to learn more about and what I need to remember.


And about my first book on Mindfulness….and Meditation.

Quiet The Mind. Matthew Johnstone. 

In 2012 I was on the south coast of N.S.W. on an observation day for N.S.W. Institute of Teachers. I already knew that I needed some inside help for the growing stress I was feeling and to be able to help myself.

I saw this book,  as I browsed a bookshop on the day before I went to the school, and thought, that’s it! I bought it, read it (very easy contents) and was R E A D Y for mindfulness.

It never arrived dear reader….

in fact not for about another 3 to 4 years! Oh how we fool ourselves if we think one “book” can change the life we have been leading till then. I admit, I look at this book now, and it is good.

But I had SO much life and learning and practising to do and it’s taken me ten years to really put it into action!!


About a School Library.

The bookshelves that will often hold treasures to turn a young person into a reader! I loved being a library monitor at primary school. And now, a little bit about a school library..and hopefully schools will continue to have libraries and with BOOKS on the shelves… sadly, some no longer do. But for now a story about a school library…

Did you know that to start a new school’s library requires not only book and other resources to be bought…but also to be accessioned.

In other words, covered and marked for their place on the shelves, AND as a school resource accountable to the financial part of the school’s operation. And then, the students will have their information loaded onto the schools’ files, and they will then form the borrowing systems.

There is something very special as a teacher and a teacher librarian, to see the youngest members of the school doing their first “borrowing” from the library..with their special library bag. 

How do I know this?

Firstly as a school principal, but more than that as…

my daughter, is a trained teacher librarian and with her masters in librarianship can operate in an educational setting like a school and a public or private library. She has started TWO new school libraries in the past 6 years…and once every month or so, volunteers in the library at Sydney Jewish Museum.

Schools Go Back….this was in the first month of the brand new school’s library in 2019.

School Readers and Others In Groups: on the bookshelf…and the letters? Donation of many from me! First school library started: 2015.

Into the spirit of all things reading for Book Week 2020.

A New Book For Beginning Teachers.

On Teaching : For New Graduates. Bianca Hewes.

A friend and colleague put a call out last year for some of us to help her with sections of brand new book that she’d been commissioned to write, and I said “yes”. My chapter was about “the first days” where as a newbie to schools there is so much to observe, listen and learn to check out how that school ticks. And it’s on my bookshelf before giving it to my daughter’s school as a resource.

Highly recommended if you know of anyone starting out in teaching. Available from the publisher: Small Caps Publishing. Great work Bianca Hewes…and co. Bianca was also a Woman of Courage! Here’s her story.

I am interested in so much of what makes us humans tick.

I tend to enjoy other people’s memoirs and what their life story has taught them. The learning and teaching part of my DNA remains keen and very curious.

I am someone very interested in how we humans manage many of life’s challenges, and probably because I am the age I am, and have had cancer, I am somewhat drawn to learning more about serious life issues which include death, dying and grief.

I don’t tend to read to escape these days. I do like to get engrossed in both fiction and non fiction but fiction that I love these days is less than it was for me back in my 40s. But now, if something from the fiction realm engrosses me and then I will likely return to it….

I returned to this listen...and I am loving getting reacquainted with the unusual storyline, the flowers and flora of the Australian bush and more. I am not good at reviews but if you look it up, I am sure you will find out more. I also LOVE that the narrator here really can do the characters’ voices.

NB: I cannot bear listening to a narrator whose skills are not up to speed. I once had to return a book because I could hear every intake of breath. Fussy, moi? Yes!

From Audible: The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland. And in bookstores.

Lisa by Lisa Curry. From Audible. The book is out in most book stockists.

Just finished this:  Lisa a raw and true memoir from Australian swimmer, Lisa Curry.

She has written from the heart, and I suggest it needs some tissues nearby to listen to Lisa share the part of her life, particularly when describing the impossible but true death of her eldest child, Jaimie.

I wasn’t sure if I would find this book a bit light on, and some parts were I guess for me, but the true pull is the fact that no-one can change another person’s fate (my word) where mental illness, an eating disorder and more are part of a human’s load.

I hope Lisa has some professional guidance for her grief that can complement all of the other loving support in her world now.

Which brings me to these books:

Every Family Has a A Story: How We Inherit Love and Loss. Julia Samuel.

Julia Samuel is a psychotherapist in the UK. I have the actual book but am listening, one chapter at a time, to her at times raw and painful recounting of others’ stories shared with her in the therapy space. What attracted me to her book was “Every Family Has a Story” and whilst we may not know them all, nor even want to know, there will be something in each of our family and forebears which has an effect on us and if we have them, our kids and grandchildren. It is a dense and intense listen and I am doing it one story at a time. In the car.

The Choice. Dr Edith Eger.

This book was recommended to me by my daughter. The one mentioned above. She is into life history, family histories, and  the history of those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis in World War Two. It’s a reason she gets so much out of her regular volunteer work ( I don’t know how she does it as a full time now Relieving Assistant Principal, and Mum to one under 12) because of her respect for the member of the Jewish Community who survived and many made their homes in Australia.

This book is written by an Auschwitz survivor and her work and what she found out about herself and others is compared with the work of Dr Victor Frankl. I haven’t finished Dr Eger’s book but I am going to as I recently heard her on Brene Brown’s podcast here. Worth the listen!


It affects us all and it is not always related to death. It can be a loss, a trauma, a serious illness. I know I have written about the surprise of grief during my years of transition ….grieving the life and type of life we had led to go into a retirement mode. I also grieved for lost friendships when we moved to the coast, and for the loss of connection.

I know I grieved the changes of relationships I witnessed in our close and extended family and at times it would all seem too much to bear. But knowing now, that the mention of the word “grief” means that you are less likely to be “shhhed” or asked, “aren’t you over that now?” but as humans we will want to be out of the discomfort of grief as fast as we can.

And that doesn’t work.

In fact, it probably worsens it.

I am not an expert at all but I believe in self-education and learning from others and Megan Devine is one such person.

It’s OK that You’re Not OK. Megan Devine.

She also now has a podcast. I follow her on twitter and have listened to her book on-line and have this copy here:

I know my friend Sandra finds Megan’s words helpful &  is in a space that is both challenging and hard, with sprinkles of good times after the sudden death of her husband over a year ago. Sandra’s  story from Women of Courage is here. 

And folks, that’s it for now.

I am writing this post Wednesday evening to be ready for Friday. Thursday I will be driving to and from Sydney to see the prosthodontist and to have lunch with my two oldest granddaughters. I am not sure which book I will listen to but I often do one book I have in my Audible collection for the journey down and another for coming home.

It also depends on how I am feeling.

NB: it was Every Family Has a Story on the way down, and The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart coming home. 

Take care!

Thanks for reading here!

And small shout out for bloggers. The last link up from my blog is on Monday 20 June. Do join in if you have a post old or new.




  1. I have such fond memories of the school library – and the joy of filling up the library card (back in teh days when it was a card to be filled up). I’ve heard good things about Alice Hart and really must get around to reading it some day. I totally agree with you – the narrator makes all the difference when it comes to audible. Thanks for linking up with another great and varied selection.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Yes to the library card, and the stamps….and sigh, you knew you were a voracious reader too. I was a library monitor in primary school. And loved it.

      I did a stint as a relief Teacher Librarian, and the method was all by computer borrowing but the kids still loved foraging for books….and borrowing. The school library along with a school canteen are great places for independence for young people too.

      Pretty sure you would enjoy Alice Hart’s story.

      Loved being part of the link up again…thanks so much Jo and I hope you are feeling better.


  2. Hi Denyse I’m so pleased you have joined us again and yes, the month does fly by doesn’t it? A great selection of books you have shared this month. My grandsons have library cards and visit the library regularly (as well as Ethan visiting the school library each week). I love that their parents have introduced them to books early and both a developing a love of books. Ethan has also started writing his own books and comics which is a wonderful extension for him. I listen to Audible books driving to and from Brisbane each week and thoroughly enjoy that one hour each way listening to a book. My latest is Pride and Prejudice. Happy reading and I look forward to you sharing your books again next month. x

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      It’s a beautiful thing to introduce children to actual books Sue, and then along the way, to where you can borrow them.

      Not every parent values this and sometimes in the hustle and bustle of school life, finding “borrowed” library books for the school library day becomes another chore…not for your family I know.

      Yes to audible for the drives. I must admit I need to monitor my emotional state too because some of my books are a bit ‘heavy’ and so I do the changeover to a lighter/happier title if I need too.

      Pride and Prejudice is a book I have never read..I think I had one copy and lent it to a friend in the 1990s but I loved the series on video from the same era and still have it. I viewed it again during covid lockdown.

      Lovely to be back for your linky. I think it’s made me realise I read more than I thought…albeit in different forms.


  3. I loved our school library too, and at primary school we had a book box that we could pick a book from every Friday.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      It’s one of the first independent things children do at school…choose something to read. It’s lovely to know about your memories too.

      Thanks for sharing.


  4. I really enjoyed this post Denyse and how you tied it all together. I agree libraries are a vital part of education and when I was managing the education section in the correctional centre, the library was considered a special place to many.
    My grandchildren love going to the library too which is a good sign. Your book choices all sound very interesting and I’m keen to read Lisa Curry’s book but having listened to a podcast interview I know I’ll need some tissues handy. The Lost Flowers also sounds very interesting. We listen to books while on road trips and they make the driving time pass quickly – I totally agree the narrator makes a huge difference. Thanks for joining us!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Deb! I took a while to get it together in some ways and now I am glad I made mention of the history of borrowing books for kids, and how the library can be such a great opportunity for children to feel a little more independent…that, and going to the school tuckshop with some money!!

      I can imagine how important a library would be in the correctional centres. A place to learn & chill out ( was going to say ‘escape’ & then I thought better of it!).

      I think Lisa’s book was interesting even before she got to her marriage and kids. I guess it took me back to following her in the swimming teams for Australia. I saw a different side of her rather than the ones portrayed in the media (she has a lot to say about that too!)….but of course, the death of her daughter is the tragedy told with tears and sobs via the Audible version….

      B and I haven’t really had any long car trips where we have listened to a book. It’s always music for him. But I do like my solo trips with audible books!

      Thank you for the link up.


  5. I had a job working in the school library all lined up when my boys were all ready to start school and sadly the school closed 2 days before school was to start. I was so looking forward to that job since I just loved teaching and I love reading.

  6. Hi, Denyse – Thank you for joining us at WOYBS. You have provided much thought-provoking insight on both books and reading. I especially loved the section on school libraries!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      My pleasure Donna, it is fun now I am getting the hang of how to contribute.

      The part on school libraries kind of grew and I am glad people found it of interest.

      Thank you for the link up.


  7. My 1.5 year old appreciates her trips to the public library. She loves stuffing my book tote with loads of books — I worry we may lose them. Thankfully I’ve only lost one. She also appreciates books. We support her daycare that does Scholastic book orders so she has a library of her own.

    • Oh Julie, I LOVE that! Yes to having a book bag, to share!
      And their Scholastic Book orders are often the “first” kind of “independent” purchasing children do.

      They are very popular, and my daughter, when Teacher Librarian, would hold Book Fairs from Scholastic and they give back books etc to the school, from the percentage of sales.

      This has made my day!


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