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Readers young and old will be enthralled by Sheila Cussons' beautifully illustrated children's book, Trevor in the Land of Fantasy

A few months before Sheila Cussons passed away, her son Jaume Saladrigas Cussons received a surprising gift from her… a manuscript she had kept to herself for decades.

She expressed a keen desire that the book be published and become available to her many readers.

The fantasy she had written for her little brother when she was still in her teens was familiar to Jaume and his brother Jordi.

When they were young, their mother often read the Trevor stories to them. While living in Spain with her husband and sons, she must have relived her youthful writing, set in South Africa, where she had grown up and would later return to.

In publishing the stories of Trevor, the hidden manuscript can finally be shared and treasured by anyone from eight to 108.

In keeping with Sheila’s long relationship with Nazareth House, this book has been dedicated to the children and staff of this landmark of giving and caring in Cape Town.

Beautifully illustrated with her own delicate artwork, the quaint characters in Trevor in the Land of Fantasy come to life, transporting the reader with them into a world of fantasy and imagination.

Book details

Twee nuwe opwindende titels in Cressida Cowell se Hoe om jou draak te tem-reeks tref die rakke!

Harwarrus Horribalus Heldehelm die Derde was ’n swaardvegter, draak¬fluisteraar en die grootste Wiking-held wat nog ooit gelewe het. Maar dié reeks gaan oor toe hy nog gesukkel het om ’n held te wees. Kinders wat DreamWorks se film How To Train your Dragon uit 2010 onthou, kan Hiccup (oftewel Harwarrus) se avonture nou in Afrikaans lees!


Harwarrus moet die koning van die Wilderweste word. Kan hy die heks se Vampier-spioendrake uitoorlê én boonop voor Joelfees se Dag van Doem die koning se verlore toebehore by Alvin terugsteel? En is daar ’n bedrieër in Harwarrus se kamp wat hulle almal op die ou end gaan verraai?


Wie gaan as koning van die Wilderweste gekroon word … Harwarrus of Alvin die Verraderlike? Kan Harwarrus die draak Verwoed ompraat en die rebellie stopsit … of is dit die EINDE van die drake?

“Die slot is ’n dawerende sukses, vol vlamme en rook, liefde, eer en outydse opwinding.”
Philip Womack, Daily Telegraph<

Nou ’n DreamWorks-film

Cressida Cowell het grootgeword in die stad Londen en op ’n klein, onbewoonde eiland aan die weskus van Skotland, waar sy dit geniet het om stories te skryf, vis te vang, en die eiland te verken op soek na drake. Sy was oortuig daar het drake gelewe, en was altyd gefassineer met hulle.

Kobus Geldenhuys is bekend vir sy kinderboek¬vertalings van outeurs soos J.K. Rowling en Roald Dahl. In 2015 het hy die Elsabé Steenbergprys vir vertaalde kinder- en jeugliteratuur in Afrikaans ontvang vir Cressida Cowell se Hoe om jou draak te tem: Hoe om Drakonees te praat (Protea, 2014), en in 2016 is hy met die Alba Bouwerprys vir kinder- en jeugliteratuur bekroon vir sy vertaling van Michael Morpurgo se Hoekom die walvisse gekom het (Protea, 2015). Hy het by geleentheid ook Artes- en Safta-toekennings ontvang, en is verskeie kere benoem vir sy gesinchroniseerde vertalings van TV-reekse en animasiefilms vir die destydse SAUK-oorklankingsafdeling. Wanneer hy nie vertaal nie, skryf hy televisietekste vir Suid-Afrikaanse sepies en dramas soos Villa Rosa, Swartwater en Binnelanders.


Aspiring children's book illustrator? Apply for a paid internship!

"Books are an investment in a child's life" - a Q&A with award-winning edu-designer and social activist Paul Talliard

Nal’ibali column published in: Sunday World (25/02/2018), Daily Dispatch (26/02/2018), Herald (01/03/2018)

By Carla Lever

Paul Talliard

Hands of Honour is project that trains unemployed people to build furniture, like your beautiful mobile classroom units that encourage children to read and learn more in schools. How did you get the idea for starting Hands of Honour?

Actually, rather like our classroom furniture, the idea “unfolded” in front of my eyes. Hands of Honour started as a support group run by me for young and adult men who found it difficult to return to mainstream society after making wrong choices in life. In my case, my fondness for crack cocaine cost me my job as a fireman, as well as my loved ones and home. One day someone told me of some artificial Christmas trees that a large retail chain wanted to dump. Together with some friends at our soup kitchen we collected, fixed and sold the tree. We made R8000 rather quickly and were hooked!

But then I then had a brainwave. The soup kitchen was held in two dilapidated classrooms at the local primary school. I used R4000 of the money and we gave the classrooms a makeover. We sent photos of the makeover to folk in the retail chain, and the rest is history. Our donations of unwanted goods became bigger and better and our makeover projects became bolder…but the real makeover was happening with the men. In the seven years we’ve been doing this, dozens of men have come through our program, never to return to the soup kitchen or drugs and crime again.

What adaptable features make the Angel Classroom design so special and useful for practical classroom activities?

There are so many! The Angel Classroom on Wheels not only has books, but has educational toys installed that were chosen by early education expert. It has a secret fold out bench that doubles as a work-desk. It’s mobile and in one swift move it transforms into a puppet theatre, complete with puppets! The front section is chalkboard. The rear is a painting easel complete with canvass, paint and brushes as well as fold-out activity boards. It’s basically a mobile storytelling and learning unit.

You build many beautiful upcycled designs with Hands of Honour. What made you realise that there was a very specific need for classroom tools?

We donated one of the first units to one of a local township school. When we arrived, I got the shock of my life – the class we visited only had six “readers” for over thirty children. One of the little boys, a skinny lad of about six, had a huge black eye. When I asked him what happened to him, he just hugged me. This experience drove me to do some more research and what I discovered was downright sad. This is now my life’s mission, that with our Angel Classroom on Wheels, and with other likeminded people, we will transform these children into the next generation of leaders and problem solvers.

What personal feedback have you had from teachers and young learners?

So far, we have built and delivered 88 Angel Classrooms and have received great feedback. Teachers are full of praise, while it is always a moment of joy when a unit is folded one to reveal the delights and adventures inside.

In 2014, you won the Spark ‘Changemaker of the Year’ award and it’s easy to see why. Can you tell us a little about the social and community impact that you’ve found particularly heartwarming?

For a start, many really good men don’t spend their days in soup kitchens anymore. I’m glad I had the chance to speak hope into people’s lives, although actually it’s them who have given me hope to carry on. One guy stands out in particular: a member of the notorious 26 prison gang who once lived in a car. Nowadays he travels the country as a Safety Officer for a rigging company. Well done!

Why is access to books for children so important and how can we all help?

Of all the resources we put into the Angel Classrooms, we find books to be the one of the most expensive. We have many good people who send us books, but we would love more! They are an investment in a child’s life, but we as a country also reap responsible, capable citizens at the end of the day.

How can people support building these classroom resources?

We’d like to invite anyone to sponsor a unit. The social impact is huge – children will have a better chance of succeeding academically and more jobs will be created for people who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to support themselves. Take a look at our website or contact me if you would like to assist in any way at

Reading and telling stories with your children is a powerful gift to them. It builds knowledge, language, imagination and school success! For more information about the Nal’ibali campaign, or to access children’s stories in a range of South African languages, visit:

Open Box Library Project 2018

Open Book Festival has been committed to driving a love of books and reading amongst learners since its inception. Fundamental to this has been the Open Book School Library Project which has seen us put libraries into Matthew Goniwe Memorial High School, Parkhurst Primary and Westridge High School. The experience is one that has been hugely rewarding but which has also come with its own challenges.

As with all aspects of Open Book, we are constantly looking for ways to do things better and it is with this in mind that we reworked the library project to come up with something that doesn’t overwhelm, doesn’t require additional staff or space and which can be kept up to date with relatively little money. Welcome to Open Box! These mini mobile libraries are placed in classrooms, allowing teachers and learners access to the resource through the day.

St Mary’s Primary School
Located in the Cape Town CBD, St Mary’s Primary was ideally suited to be our pilot for the Open Box Project. Teachers showed huge interest in having access to books through the day in their classrooms, the school is within walking distance of the Book Lounge (which is closely associated with Open Book Festival) and learners at the school come predominantly from disenfranchised communities.

2015 – 2017:
2015 saw us piloting the Open Box project and we are delighted with how it worked. In total we placed 3 boxes at St Mary’s Primary and they are now in daily use in the Grade R, 1 and 2 classrooms. In 2016, we placed an additional 3 boxes in the Grade 3, 4 and 5 classrooms and in 2017, we placed boxes in the Grade 6 and 7 classrooms. The boxes include books, games, materials for activities and other resources that are relevant to both teachers and learners. Tied to the boxes, were the events we ran there through the year, from readings and activities through to author visits.

Selection Process:
We include at least 5 books per learner in each box. We meet with teachers ahead of purchasing so that they can outline the kinds of books that will best suit them, both in terms of their curricula and challenges faced by their learners. Those conversations enable us to stock each box with titles most relevant to both learners and teachers. The titles include a mix of fiction and non-fiction titles as well as books in different languages and aimed at different reading ages.

While we have completed the box handovers at St Mary’s, our relationship with them will continue and where possible we will organise events for learners. The focus of Open Box though will shift and we identified Siyazingisa Primary School in Gugulethu as the school we are working with for the next few years. The school is part of the same circuit as St Mary’s (Circuit 2).

The principal is Mrs Nonkonyana. She has been based at the school for over 20 years and is excited to be working with us on this. There are 3 Grade R classes and those will be our starting point. We met with the principal and teachers at the end of 2017 to discuss what books would be most relevant to their classrooms and we will be working on getting those together in the coming months. There are roughly 35 learners in each class and we will be aiming for a 5:1 ratio of books to learners. Ideally the majority of those books will be in isiXhosa.

The proposed dates for the handovers are:
23 April 2018: 3 boxes handed over with partial supply of books to each box
7 June 2018: Partial supply of books to each box
31 July 2018: Final supply of books to each box
The dates listed above may change. Each of the handovers will be linked to storytelling

Contact Frankie Murrey (Open Book Festival coordinator) for more information: +27 82 958 7332 /





Die opvolgverhaal van Benji Davies se bekroonde The Storm Whale is nou in Afrikaans beskikbaar!

Laas somer het Noi ’n klein walvis gered toe ’n storm dit op die strand uitgespoel het.

Noudat dit winter word, wil Noi baie graag weer sy vriend sien. Maar die walvis is iewers in die diep see saam met sy familie.

Dit is uiteindelik ’n ysige storm wat hulle weer bymekaar bring.

’n Verhaal van moed en vriendskap; die opvolgverhaal van Die stormwalvis.

Benji Davies is ’n illustreerder, skrywer en animasieregisseur. The Storm Whale is sy debuut kinderboek en het die Oscar’s se eerste boekprys in 2014 gewen en was op die kortlys van die Booktrust se toekennings vir beste boek.

Sy tweede boek, Grandad’s Island het die prys AOI Wêreld Illustrasietoekennings in 2015 kategorie kinderboeke gewen en het die prys beste kinderboek van die jaar by die Sainsbury se Kinderboektoekennings in 2015 gewen.

Hy het animasie studeer en werk aan ’n reeks projekte; van kinderboeke tot geanimeerde kortfilms, musiekvideo’s en advertensies.