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Taryn Hayes Launches Seekers of the Lost Boy with Bishop Frank Retief

Taryn Hayes

You don’t often find youth novels in which the lead characters are home-schooled – this is one of the reasons why Taryn Hayes wrote the book Seekers of the Lost Boy (Naledi Books), with characters and events that home-schooled children can relate to.

Taryn Hayes Seekers of the Lost BoySet in Cape Town, the book tells the story of 12 year old Simon, a home-schooled boy, who discovers a bottle on the beach and in it a letter written 30 years prior by another 12 year old boy from the Cape Flats. Together with his family, Simon sets out to search for the mystery letter writer.

Hayes, who home-schools her own children, admitted in conversation with Bishop Frank Retief at the book’s launch last week that she used to think that people who do that are “strange”. “I felt sorry for home-schooled children because I thought that they were unsociable.” However, when she fell pregnant with her first child and felt unhappy with the official school curriculum at that time, Hayes did more research on the home-schooling option. She realised that her preconceptions were wrong. “Home-schooling has a lot of benefits in terms of flexibility,” Hayes points out. “And you can cater to your child’s specific learning needs.”

With her own four children, Hayes follows a literature-based curriculum, often making use of stories to help them learn. Seekers of the Lost Boy is in a way also an extension of this method, as it delves into South Africa’s history of apartheid, District Six and forced removals, teaching children about it, without it seeming that way to the young reader.

Hayes explained that she also wanted to incorporate Christian themes into the story in a non-confrontational way. “The book can be read and enjoyed by Christians and non-Christian alike,” Hayes said, but she did try to clarify some of the concepts of the faith by weaving it into the tale.

The discussion wrapped up with Hayes revealing that she is already working on a second and a third book.

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Carolyn Meads tweeted live from the launch with #livebooks:

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