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Archive for the ‘Childrens Literature’ Category

Win a copy of Ink – a beautifully illustrated picture book exploring a child’s growing awareness of language

Ingrid Mennen’s Ink is a picture book exploring a child’s growing awareness of language, books and reading.

The little girl Tinka becomes aware of words, language and writing. She names her family members one by one: her mum, her dad, her little brother Slip, sister Rosie and baby Jas. She draws a paper doll resembling a girl like herself on a sheet of newsprint. The paper doll is named “Ink”. With her body filled with words, Ink is the perfect companion for Tinka.

Tinka introduces her new friend to all her favourite story books, because, “A book is like a friend, with the best stories to tell”.

Thought-provoking and captivating, this picture book will appeal to young readers 4+, while adult readers will find pleasure in the simple, yet sensitive illustrations.

If you would like to win a copy of this singular book, visit our Facebook page and comment on the competition post.

Ingrid Mennen is an author of picture books including One Round Moon and a Star For Me (illustrated by Niki Daly) and Ben and the Whales. Ingrid lives in Newlands, Cape Town, with her husband. They have three grown-up children. Ink is her second book in collaboration with Irene, her eldest daughter, as illustrator.

Irene Berg is the eldest daughter of author Ingrid Mennen. She studied music in Stellenbosch and Frankfurt am Main and now she works in Germany as a musician and teacher and lives close to the Rhine with her husband, a violinist. Mother and daughter worked together on Ben and the Whales in 2012. Ink is their second book together.

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Wen ’n kopie van Ink – ’n pragtig geïllustreerde boek wat ’n kind se bewusmaking van taal verken

Tinka word bewus van woorde en taal, boeke en lees.

Sy teken haarself af op ‘n vel koerantpapier. Nou het sy ‘n maat en sy noem haar “Ink”.

Met haar lyf vol woorde, is Ink die perfekte maat vir Tinka. Sy neem Ink na haar kamer om haar beste boeke vir haar te wys, want “‘n boek is soos ‘n maat, met die beste stories om te vertel”.

‘n Meesleurende en diepsinnige prenteboek vir lesers 4+ wat ook volwasse lesers se verbeelding sal aangryp.

Indien jy ‘n kopie van hierdie besonderse boek wil wen, besoek ons Facebook-blad en skryf in deur kommentaar te lewer op die kompetisie-berig.

Ingrid Mennen is ‘n skrywer van prenteboeke vir kinders, waarvan sommige in verskeie tale gepubliseer is. Sy studeer Afrikaanse en Engelse Letterkunde, Kunsgeskiedenis en Museumkunde (UP, US en UK). Ingrid woon in Nuweland, Kaapstad, saam met haar man. Hulle het drie volwasse kinders. Ben en die walvisse en Ink is saam met haar oudste dogter, illustreerder Irene Berg, geskep. Ben en die walvisse is bekroon met die M.E.R.-prys vir geïllustreerde kinderboek 2013 en die Tienie Hollowaymedalje vir Kleuterliteratuur 2015.

Irene Berg is ‘n vryskut-illustreerder en musiekonderwyser, oorspronklik van Kaapstad, en woon en werk tans in Mannheim, Duitsland. Na musiekstudies aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch en die Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kuns in Frankfurt am Main, voltooi sy ‘n kursus in grafiese ontwerp. Haar eerste twee prenteboeke, Ben en die walvisse (2012) en Ink (2016), is geskep in samewerking met haar ma, skrywer Ingrid Mennen.


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Soweto Story Hour with drag queen Shenay O’Brien: pics

Capturing the imagination of children and working towards a more just society that recognises and accepts gender fluidity during childhood, the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign recently hosted South Africa’s first drag queen story hour with Thiart Li, performing as Shenay O’Brien, and children from two Nal’ibali reading clubs at Ikageng Austrian Embassy Library in Soweto on Saturday 24 June.

Thiart Li, aka Shenay O’Brien, entertaining whilst educating. During these story hours, children get the opportunity to see adult reading role models defy rigid gender restrictions, and are invited to imagine a world in which all people are truly equal, and accepted for who they are.


A youngster sits on Shenay’s lap with a copy of Roald Dahl’s Matilda in her hands. Li read from this beloved children’s book as means to address the locally identified issue of abuse in schools; in the novel Matilda escapes her unbearable environment by teaching herself to read and taking refuge in her school’s library.


The Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign works to spark the potential of all children through reading and storytelling in home languages as well English. Ja-nee, fun certainly was had by all!

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Nal’ibali celebrates diversity with drag queen story hour in Soweto

Thiart Li/Shenay O’Brien

Capturing the imagination of children and working towards a more just society that recognises and accepts gender fluidity during childhood, the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign will be hosting South Africa’s first drag queen story hour with Thiart Li, performing as Shenay O’Brien, and children from two Nal’ibali reading club Ikageng Austrian Embassy Library in Soweto on Saturday 24 June.

The programme is just as it sounds like – an engaging drag queen reading stories to children in a library, and is a response to similar activations which have been taking place in the USA with great success. During these story hours, children get the opportunity to see adult reading role models defy rigid gender restrictions, and are invited to imagine a world in which all people are truly equal, and accepted for who they are.

The Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, which works to spark the potential of all children through reading and storytelling in home languages as well English, supports the initiative which is in line with the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Sustainable Development Goal number five highlights and promotes the need for gender equality, stating that is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.

Further addressing the locally identified issue of abuse in schools, Li will be reading for Roald Dahl’s Matilda which features a young girl who escapes her unbearable environment by teaching herself to read and taking refuge in her school’s library.

Says Righardt le Roux, the Nal’ibali Provincial Support Coordinator responsible for the event: “The story hour ties in with Youth Month and children’s basic rights: The right to play, to education and a safe environment. We hope that through this reading we’ll begin to foster an awareness and inclusive appreciation of all our children by creating safe places of acceptance within community spaces such as libraries and reading clubs.”

Event details:
Venue: Ikageng Library
Address: 8299 Corner of Mahalefele and Khumalo, Orlando West, Soweto
Date: 24 June 2017
Time: 10:30

For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access our growing collection of free children’s stories in a range of SA languages plus tips and ideas on how to read with children, visit: or or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter: @NalibaliSA.

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Receive a R500 Takealot book voucher!

Takealot, in collaboration with BooksLive, is currently running a competition in which two lucky readers will win a R500 Takealot book voucher!

Winners will be able to spend their voucher on any of the books found on Takealot’s Book Page.

Takealot’s top ten bestselling books in April were as follows:

1. The Bikini Body 28-Day Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide
2. Born a Crime
3. Low Carb is Lekker Two
4. Roald Dahl 15 Book Boxset
5. Manie Muis Skrik Groot
6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 10 Book Set Collection
7. Priddy Write & Wipe 10 book collection
8. Ses Stoute Varkies
9. How to Make Your First Million
10. Low Carb is Lekker

Interested? Visit our Facebook page to enter.

Takealot is not responsible for any harm due to the loss, unauthorised use or unauthorised distribution of a Gift Voucher, after it has been delivered to you. Standard T&Cs apply.

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Call for submissions for 2018 Golden Baobab Prize now open

Golden Baobab is pleased to announce the call for submissions for the 2018 Golden Baobab Prize. The Prize discovers and celebrates African writers and illustrators of children’s stories and confers awards for their work…

The 2018 Golden Baobab Prize offers three awards:

– The Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books, for the best story targeting a reader audience of ages 4-8.

– The Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books for the best story targeting a reader audience of ages 9-11.

– The Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators for the best artwork that matches illustration briefs provided, intended for children ages 4-11.

Winners of the 2018 Golden Baobab Prize will receive a cash prize of 5,000 USD. In addition to press publicity, winning stories are guaranteed a publishing deal, finalist writers are connected with publishers across Africa and finalist illustrators participate in exhibitions and workshops.

Click here for the submissions guideline

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Stephen Hawking has co-written a book on the universe – for children!

George's Secret Key to the Universe

George’s Secret Key to the Universe teaches children the basics of astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology and other principles that govern our universe. This book makes science interesting while it teaches children fun and interesting facts about astronomical objects. Stephen Hawking, author of the multi-million copy bestselling A Brief History of Time, and his daughter Lucy explain the universe to readers of all ages. George’s parents, who have always been wary of technology, warn him about their new neighbours: Eric is a scientist and his daughter, Annie, seems to be following in his footsteps. But when George befriends them and Cosmos, their super-computer, he finds himself on a wildly fun adventure, while learning about physics, time and the universe. With Cosmos’s help, he can travel to other planets and a black hole. But what would happen if the wrong people got their hands on Cosmos? George, Annie and Eric aren’t about to find out, and what ensues is a funny adventure that clearly explains the mysteries of science. Garry Parsons’ energetic illustrations add humour and interest, and his scientific drawings add clarity.

Book details

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2 South African authors win the 2016 Golden Baobab Prizes for African children’s books

2016 Golden Baobab Prize winners and shortlist announced

Alert! Golden Baobab has announced the winners of the 7th edition of the Golden Baobab Prize.

Established in July 2008, the Golden Baobab Prize is often referred to as the “African Newbery Prize”, and is a prestigious award in the African children’s literature industry. Its aim is to support the development of children’s books by African writers and illustrators.

2016 Golden Baobab Prize winners and shortlist announced

The Prize invites entries of unpublished stories and illustrations created by African citizens irrespective of age, race, or country of origin. The Prize is organized by Golden Baobab, a Ghana-based pan-African NGO dedicated to “creating a world filled with wonder and possibilities for children, one African story at a time”.

The organisation’s advisory board includes renowned authors Ama Ata Aidoo and Maya Ajmera.

The Golden Baobab Prize received over 150 stories from 11 African countries this year. Submissions were judged by a jury from diverse backgrounds who brought nearly 100 years of collective experience in children’s literature to the selection of the 2016 winners and finalists.

The winning stories of the 2016 Golden Baobab Prize are:

  • Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books: The Ama-zings! by Lori-Ann Preston (South Africa)
  • Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books: Kita and the Red, Dusty Road by Vennessa Scholtz (South Africa)

The winner of each Golden Baobab Prize receives a cash prize of US$5,000 (about R70,300) and a guaranteed publishing contract.

Those shortlisted were:

2016 Golden Baobab Prize winners and shortlist announced

The Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books

  • Maya and the Finish Line by Ayo Oyeku (Nigeria)
  • Lights and Freedom by Khethiwe Mndawe (South Africa)

The Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books

  • A Dark Night for Wishes by Kai Tuomi (South Africa)
  • Mr Cocka-Rocka-Roo by Lori-Ann Preston (South Africa)

Golden Baobab Executive Director Deborah Ahenkorah Osei-Agyekum said:

For the past seven years, The Golden Baobab Prize has focused on delivering a quality annual literature prize that raises awareness about the need for more African literature for children. Now, the Prize is excited to enter a new phase where we will focus heavily on setting up more publishing partnerships and opportunities for our writers to get more African books into the hands of children. For the first time, this year’s winning stories are guaranteed a publishing contract. The longlist also receives publishing services from Golden Baobab that will connect their stories to leading African and international publishers.

Congratulations to the winners – and those shortlisted.

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Read an excerpt from Lake of Memories – the new book in Bontle Senne’s Afrocentric fantasy adventure series

Shadow Chasers Book 2: Lake of Memories Cover2Cover Books has shared an excerpt from Bontle Senne’s new book, Shadow Chasers Book 2: Lake of Memories.

The book is the follow-up to Powers of the Knife, and part of the Shadow Chasers series, a contemporary Afrocentric fantasy adventure series.

The book will be launched on Saturday, 26 November at Skoobs Theatre of Books at Montecasino, when Senne will be chatting to Pamela Power.

“I’ve never been one to buy into the ‘Africans don’t want to read’ hype,” Senne said in a recent interview.

“I’m not saying that there isn’t a huge challenge for trade publishers and booksellers in South Africa. There is, of course. But the absence of relevant, engaging, local and accessible literature is something that is improving pretty slowly.”

* * * * *

Read an extract from Chapter 3 of the book:

They knock on the door and hear Gogo’s voice telling them to come in. As they enter the candle-lit room, they see that Gogo is already in bed.

“Zithembe, Nomthandazo,” Gogo says with her eyes closed. “I thought you would come.”

“You did?” Nom blurts out.

“Yes. You see, many years ago I was one of the Bhekizizwe, a Shadow Chaser. Just like you. I know why you are here,” she says. “You want Zithembe’s knife. You want to use it to get into the dreamworld, where the Army of Shadows lives, and rescue his mother. You will need to find her knife to do so. But I cannot help you. The Army of Shadows is too dangerous and powerful now.”

“But they have Mama,” Zithembe blurts out. “I have to rescue her, Gogo. She’s been trapped in the dreamworld for years.”

Gogo’s eyes snap open. She stares at Zithembe, her lips pressed tight, before whispering, “Do you think I haven’t thought about rescuing her? Itumeleng is my daughter! I have prayed every night for her.”

“But the war against the Army is bigger than one person or one Shadow Chaser, even if she is my only child,” Gogo continues. “Itumeleng knows this, and if she was here, she would agree with me: you must stay out of this fight, Zithembe.”

Zithembe goes to this grandmother’s side, kneels besides the bed and takes her hand. “Please, Gogo,” he pleads. “Where is my knife?”

Gog pulls her hand away from Zithembe and rolls over, away from him, to face the wall.

“I am an old woman,” she says. “I have forgotten where the knife is. Now leave me. I want to sleep.”

Zithembe stands and steps back, unsure of what to do next. But Nom walks straight towards Gogo.

“That’s it?” Nom says.

“Nom!” Zithembe says, as if he is warning her – or scolding her. He tries to grab her arm to drag her out of the rondavel, but she pulls away from him.

“No, I don’t care about being respectful. This is a war!” Nom says, folding her arms. “I know you know where the knife is, Gogo. Please, you have to tell us!”

“How dare you! Gogo does not take orders from children,” says a voice from the door.

Zithembe and Nom whip around to see Zithembe’s cousin, Rosy, standing in the doorway with both hands on her hips.

“Gogo is right,” says Rosy as she walks into the room. “This is not a game. The Army of Shadows is dangerous, and you two are too young to be in a war with monsters.”

Nom rolls her eyes. “How old are you?’ she asks. “Thirty-five?”

“I’m fifteen. I’m old enough to take Gogo’s knife as my own. I’m old enough to be a real Shadow Chaser. Twelve is too young – you are too young,” Rosy says, kneeling beside Gogo’s bed. The sleeves of her dress are long, but Nom thinks she sees a flash of an angry yellow scar on Rosy’s arm. “You heard what Gogo said,” Rosy continues. “Get out.”

Nom is about to start a real fight, but Zithembe is faster than her this time. He grabs her arm and drags her out of the rondavel.

“You can’t just – ,” Nom begins to argue, but Zithembe puts a hand over her mouth and a finger to his lips. He points towards the back of the rondavel and pulls Nom with him as he sneaks into the shadows. They crouch in the weeds and nettles underneath an open window. Rosy’s voice drifts to them in an urgent whisper.

“… an evil water spirit that calls itself Mami Wata. Gogo, I believe that the Army has sent Mami Wata to tear apart the village in search of the knife.”

There is a pause before Zithembe’s grandmother says, “I wish I could remember where Zithembe’s knife is. If I could remember, I would hide the knife again, somewhere new, somewhere no one could find it. But for now, you must protect the village. And we must keep Zithembe and Nomthandazo safe until they are old enough to fight.”

“Yes, Gogo,” agrees Rosy.

“Go to the beach and attack just before midnight tonight. Your knife will be the light to guide the way and open the door to send this monster back to the dreamworld. Good luck, ngane yam. Be safe,” says Gogo.

Related stories:

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Grade 2 children illustrate Lauren Beukes’s latest book

MaverickMoxylandZoo City (SA edition)The Shining GirlsBroken Monsters

Lauren Beukes’s next project is two months away: a children’s book featuring “unbelievable beasties”, which will be illustrated with children’s drawings.

Grade 2 pupils at Prestwich Primary School in Cape Town took crayon to paper on Wednesday to create some of the “beasties” for the award-winning author’s new project.

Best known for supernatural thrillers The Shining Girls and Broken Monsters‚ Beukes says this book was largely inspired by her seven-year-old daughter.

Undoubtedly different from what her readers have come to expect‚ the Bostik Book of Unbelievable Beasties competition has allowed the former journalist to express her “cute side”.

Grade 2 children illustrate Lauren Beukes's latest book


Speaking to TMG Digital at a reading and drawing session hosted by the Shine Centre at Prestwich Primary‚ Beukes said that the aim was to just let children read‚ have fun and play.

“Kids’ literacy is so important to me and stories are often the ways in which we understand the world‚ who we are‚ and a way to experience other lives,” she said.

“I wanted these kids to use their imaginations and bring their own experiences to the story. What is so exciting is just seeing the variety of beasties already.”

According to Beukes‚ one of the more challenging aspects of writing the rhymes for the book was making sure that the “beasties” were not too scary – and that’s where her daughter came in.

“I write a lot of very dark novels for adults‚ including Broken Monsters‚ but I have actually worked in kids’ TV for a long time.

“I’ve worked on two different Disney shows and I’ve written a Wonder Woman comic for kids set in South Africa‚ and it’s just a way for me to express my cute side and to do something that my daughter actually appreciates.

“She’s seven years old and she vetted a lot of the rhymes and she was like ‘no‚ mama‚ that’s too scary‚’” Beukes said.

Pravina Vassen‚ who volunteers for the Shine Literacy programme every Monday and Wednesday‚ said that it was a privilege to witness the children’s imagination and talent.

“I think that this is an amazing project and it’s so nice to see these children using their imagination and it’s wonderful to see their talent. I didn’t realise they would draw so well‚” Vassen said.

“These pictures are just stunning.”

Grade 2 children illustrate Lauren Beukes's latest book


Prestwich Primary School principal Mahdi Samodien said that he and many other educators felt that the South African education system still has a long way to go. However‚ he feels that initiatives such as the Shine Programme not only stimulate creativity but also allow children to look at things “in a different light”.

“With regards to our education system‚ many of us feel that we still have far to go. Not only in terms of resources and what education is meant to provide for these children‚ but just the general morale of teachers‚ educators and the system is problematic‚” he said.

“Given the space‚ there is so much that learners can do. There are learners who are not necessarily able to be academically‚ intellectually or mathematically sound‚ but are so artistic and we don’t always nurture that.

“Therefore‚ opportunities like this allow them to listen‚ understand‚ and open their minds‚ this is just really so wonderful‚” he said.

The project is open to children across the country and everyone between the ages of 6 and 12 is invited to let their creativity flow by entering their masterpieces into the competition.

Competition entries close on August 20 and the draw will take place in September. The best “beasties” will be chosen to feature in Beukes’ book‚ which will be published and launched in October.

“I feel ill just thinking about the selection process‚” she said. “Just looking in this room there is so much amazing creativity and when the kids talk about their beasties‚ and they describe what’s happening in their pictures it’s so incredible.

“I have no idea how we are going to judge this. It’s going to be impossible to choose. I might cry‚” Beukes said.

“I really want to do more children’s books‚ this was so much fun‚ I just have to convince my agent.”

Despite it being an awesome excuse for her to not write her novel‚ she said with a wink.

Source: TMG Digital
Author image: Lauren Beukes on Facebook

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