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Giveaway! Win a copy of the magical and original Mzansi fairy tale, The Blacksmith and the Dragonfly

A magical and original fairy tale – perfect for bedtime reading. With the hype around movies like Black Panther and the call for inclusive storytelling, this book is perfect for the current market. It features lovely illustrations and the strong female protagonist will delight and inspire young readers.

About the book

Ndiliswa dreams of becoming a warrior and the commander of the king’s army. But she is the daughter of a poor blacksmith, who makes spears just to get by. Prince Siyabulela has never been a soldier like his younger brother and his father fears that he won’t be a good king. When Siyabulela is transformed into a dragonfly by a wicked spell, it is up to Ndiliswa to defeat their enemies to save the prince.

Riana Louw was born and raised in Bellville. She is currently living and working in Germany as a Software Engineer. She is passionate about equality in gender roles and racial representation in stories and toys for children. She enjoys managing the illustration projects for her short stories in her free time.

Charles Siboto studied at the University of Johannesburg. He worked as an editor for children’s and youth literature for four years. He recently relocated to Germany with his wife, where he is teaching English and working as a freelance editor, proofreader and writer.

Christelle Lambrechts is a background artist and creature designer for a mobile gaming company. She studied at Prestige Academy and got her diploma in 3D Design and Digital Animation. She worked at Exclusive Books in Tygervalley for five years and loved being surrounded by books. In her spare time, she enjoys working on illustrations for children’s books.

NB Publishers are giving away THREE copies of this magical book! To enter, simply tell us the name of the female protagonist in The Blacksmith and the Dragonfly. Email your answer to our editor, Mila de Villiers: mila@book.co.za before Tuesday, 13 November.

Book details

Jaco Jacobs benoem vir Carnegie-medalje

LAPA Uitgewers kondig met trots aan dat die Engelse vertaling van Jaco Jacobs se bekroonde jeugroman ’n Goeie dag vir boomklim pas benoem is vir die Carnegie-medalje, Brittanje se oudste en mees prestigeryke literêre prys vir kinderboeke.

A Good Day for Climbing Trees is vroeër vanjaar deur Rock the Boat, ’n druknaam van Oneworld Publications, wêreldwyd gepubliseer. Italiaanse vertaalregte is ook intussen verkoop.

Die Carnegie-medalje word al sedert 1936 jaarliks deur die Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) toegeken. Vorige wenners sluit wêreldbekende skrywers soos C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Sharon Creech en Philip Pullman in.

“In die kinderboekbedryf is die Carnegie-medalje een van die héél grotes,” sê Jaco. “Bloot om net daarvoor benoem te word, is vir my ’n byna ondenkbare groot eer. Ek kan nie genoeg dankie sê vir my uitgewer by LAPA en my oorsese uitgewer, Oneworld, wat so hard gewerk het om die boek die wêreld in te stuur nie.”

Miemie du Plessis, tans aan die stuur van produkontwikkeling by LAPA, is minder skalks. Háár opmerking aan kollegas was: “Ek het soos ’n tiener tekere gegaan wat die Beatles in lewende lywe gesien het toe ek die nuus gehoor het. Die Carnegie Medal is ENORM, net so Brits en enorm soos die Beatles.” Du Plessis was Jacobs se uitgewer toe die boek verskyn het.

’n Goeie dag vir boomklim is die verhaal van Marnus, ’n gefrustreerde middelkind, wat hom een Desembervakansie laat ompraat om saam met ’n meisie in ’n boom te klim om te probeer keer dat die plaaslike owerheid dit afsaag.

’n Goeie dag vir boomklim was in 2016 die wenner van die kykNET/Rapport-prys se filmkategorie, en was een van die wenners van die internasionale In Other Words-vertaalprojek. Filmregte vir die boek is sedertdien aan M-Net toegeken.

In Oktober vanjaar het nog een van Jaco se boeke, Oor ’n motorfiets, ’n zombiefliek en lang getalle wat deur elf gedeel kan word, oorsee verskyn as A Good Night for Shooting Zombies.

Boekbesonderhede

Woef! Maak ’n kinderhart bly met hierdie fassinerende boek oor honde

Ontdek alles wat jy nog altyd oor honde wou weet, van verskillende rasse, eienskappe en versorging, tot fassinerende inligting oor hoe honde met ons en met ander honde kommunikeer.

Hierdie boek is perfek vir enige iemand wat van honde hou, of jy nou reeds ’n honde-eienaar is, of daarvan droom om jou eie hond te kry.

Leer wat honde met hul liggaamstaal wys, waarvan hulle droom wanneer hulle slaap, en wat hulle vir ons probeer sê. Kom beleef die wonderlike wêreld van honde met hierdie nuttige gids propvol fantastiese foto’s en skattige feite oor honde.

Vind uit hoe verskillende rasse se unieke eienskappe van mekaar verskil, leer hoe om jou beste vriend te versorg sodat sy stertswaai-gelukkig en gesond bly en verstom jou aan hierdie wonderlike diere se supersintuie en ratse toertjies.

Boekbesonderhede

Magical, inspirational, life-affirming – notes on the 12th Book Dash, held in Johannesburg

By Anna Stroud

Photographer Urvesh Rama was there from start to finish, capturing all the action. Visit Book Dash on Facebook for more images.

 
Energy crackled in the air – the kind that makes every hair on your body jig, from your nose to your toes.

It’s a powerful sensation watching nine teams brainstorm, craft and chisel away to create nine beautiful children’s books in less than 12 hours. And that’s exactly what happened on Saturday, 27 October, as volunteers drove into the heart of Johannesburg to participate in the 12th edition of Book Dash.

The Streetlight Schools in Jeppestown was the perfect home for the Book Dash crew. The schools started in October 2013 in a small store-room in Bjala Square and their aim is to create globally competitive schools in the most underserved areas in South Africa.

In 2016, they launched the flagship Streetlight Schools: Jeppe Park where we hung our hats for the day. Judging from the drawings on the wall and the wholesome menu on the blackboard, it’s a nice, caring place to learn.

The nine teams of three – writer, illustrator and designer, plus one editor for two teams – experienced that care first hand. The school’s support staff kept us fed, hydrated and happy as we worked our way to the finish line.

“Everything we do today is a gift to the world,” said Book Dash founder Arthur Attwell at the start of the day, while his six-year-old son (and unofficial Book Dash cheerleader) beamed at us from across the room.

Book Dash originated in 2014 from the founders’ belief that each child should own 100 books by the age of five. The books are available for free under the Creative Commons Attribution licence and in all 11 official South African languages.

The Book Dash model has been replicated by various groups in and outside South Africa, and the Android app recently hit just over 100 000 downloads worldwide!

This 12th edition was made possible by the Otto Foundation Trust, which allows Book Dash to print and distribute the books.

One of the reasons why I volunteered as a Book Dash editor is the feeling of positivity and goodwill that permeates the room.

Throughout the day, the love spreads from writer to editor, designer to illustrator, facilitator to support staff, barista to photographer to videographer, and back again, like a never-ending cycle of good vibes. (Yes, we had our own barista!)

In the morning, all the writers and editors gathered in the library to read their stories aloud and to give each other feedback. I’ve never experienced such an affirming group of people, who gave each other advice on how to make their stories better and built each other up every step of the way.

It wasn’t an easy feat.

As the day progressed, illustrators’ hands started to cramp, designers started to see double, writers and editors went back and fro with coffee, snacks and kind words to motivate them to the finish line.

Then the final stretch: proofreading for wayward punctuation, frowning at fonts with their own free will, and watching the clock count down to the final minutes.

And then – sweet release – the work was done and we could bask in each other’s glory.

The teams took to the stage and the writers read their stories aloud to roaring applause. The final book caused all the tired creatives to collapse in fits of laughter: somewhere in the night, a car backfired just as one writer read the line: “What’s that noise behind the tree?”

The books will be available soon – but here’s a sneak preview of the magical titles that came to life during the day:

• I don’t want to go to sleep!
• The Great Cake Contest
• The very tired lioness
• Dance, Mihlali!
• Let’s have an inside day!
• Mali’s Friend
• Auntie Boi’s Gift
• Lions are always brave
• What’s at the park?

To experience some of the magic, follow the hashtag #BookDash for live coverage on the day or visit their website to find out how you can get involved.

"Children need to be encouraged from an early age to learn another language or languages" - a Q&A with academic and language activist, Zakeera Docrat

Nal’ibali Column 26: Term 4, 2019

By Carla Lever

Zakeera Docrat

 
Congratulations on your two recent awards – having your MA thesis voted the best in Southern Africa by the African Languages Association of Southern Africa and winning the Albertina Sisulu Doctoral Fellowship at the SA Women in Science Awards. What will this recognition mean for you personally, and for your research specialty professionally?

Thank you very much! It’s an incredibly gratifying feeling to know that my research is being recognized at the highest levels of academia and government. It also casts the national spotlight on a relatively new field of forensic linguistics – or language and the law. Including African languages in the legal system enables real justice: it’s an issue that’s finally being placed on the national stage.

Your academic work looks at how African languages are represented in the legal system. Can you tell us a little about your current research?

My PhD research focuses on language and the law, specifically looking at the language of record in South African courts. In 2017, English was made the sole language of official record, but only 9.6% of the population in South Africa speak English as their mother tongue. Language affects people’s rights in courts. If you are an African language or Afrikaans mother tongue speaker and you have no or limited linguistic competency in English, then you are solely reliant on an interpreter. In my opinion, that’s both unfair and untransformative.

How do you think it changed your worldview, to be able to communicate with a wide variety of people in their own language?

By acquiring an additional language, in turn you acquire a cultural key to navigate cultural barriers. We live in a diverse, linguistically rich country, where the majority of our people speak an African language as their mother tongue. I couldn’t imagine being unable to communicate with the majority of people in the province of my birthplace, the Eastern Cape. You’re able to see the world through someone else’s perspective, to relate to fellow citizens and be respectful and aware of their traditions.

Since 1996, courts have made translation available to anyone who needs it. Why, in your opinion, is this not enough to really ensure people are fairly represented? How can it still place defendants at a disadvantage?

All accused persons have a right to a fair trial and to be legally represented. But can a legal representative defend the accused fully when they communicate through an interpreter? In my opinion, no. When people use interpreters to give evidence, meaning is often lost or changed. If the presiding officer only speaks English there is no possibility of picking up any inaccuracies. There are also often cultural concepts and traditions that can’t be interpreted directly into English.

Are there countries in the world where legal language policies are inclusive and work well? Who can we look to as an example?

Indeed there are! We could emulate a Canadian model, which is fully bilingual with judicial officers and legal practitioners being fully bilingual. Cases are heard in either of the official languages. Although South Africa has eleven official languages as opposed to Canada’s two, there is no reason why there can’t be language policies for each province, given that there are two languages spoken by the majority in each province.

Academics are often theory-driven, but was there a practical moment or discovery that really brought home the injustice and shortcomings of a legal system that can’t accommodate people’s lived, language-based realities?

I’m actually trying to find the answer to a very practical question: how do we enable access to justice for the majority of our people who are not English mother tongue speakers? The case of State v Sikhafungana (2012) really brought home to me how difficult it can be for South Africans to navigate our legal system. It saw a Deaf complainant needing to testify about being sexually assaulted, but being at a severe disadvantage because she couldn’t understand English or communicate using South African sign language. It was heartbreaking to see how there were so many barriers to justice for her.

People often counter policy suggestions by saying expanding options will prove too expensive. In your opinion, are there incremental or simple changes that might already make a big difference, or should South African invest in a large system overhaul?

The expense argument is one that is constantly used, yet there is always money available for wasted expenditure. Language is seen as a problem rather than a right and a resource. It isn’t valued.

We can’t expect to wake up tomorrow and have the entire legal system fully functional in all eleven official languages. What can be done, though, is for universities to begin to train prospective lawyers in languages other than just English. African languages and Afrikaans should also be language of record where practical.

Of course, the legal system isn’t the only one that is failing to truly represent our country’s diverse needs. Education, healthcare, policing…do you think all these areas could benefit from drawing on the richness of our languages as resources rather than sideline them as problems?

Indeed. Miscommunication in services such as healthcare, education and the legal system can have disastrous effects. It’s sad that pupils and parents think that English is the only language that will give rise to job opportunities. The power of the mother-tongue in acquiring a sound education and learning content subjects isn’t recognized in policy. Language is also key to the decolonization and transformation of our universities, yet we continue to see an emphasis placed on what we learn rather than what language we’re learning in. There’s a real need to create awareness on the importance of language as a tool to empower and transform South Africa.

How do you think we can develop and nurture a love for, and practical engagement with, all of our country’s languages in South Africa?

It starts in the home! Children need to be encouraged from an early age to learn another language or languages. Mother tongue speakers also need to value the power and status of their language – by doing this, others will be encouraged to learn those languages too.

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: www.nalibali.org.

Max Velthuijs' exceptional children's book, Frog and the birdsong, is now available in five local languages

One autumn day Frog discovers a blackbird lying motionless in the grass. Worried, he askes his friends what can be the matter. Very gently and simply the animals begin to understand the meaning of death and the beauty of life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Max Velthuijs (1923–2005) was a Dutch painter, illustrator and writer, one of the most famous children’s illustrators in the Netherlands. In 2004 he received the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for his “lasting contribution to children’s literature”. Velthuijs is known best for the Frog picture books (Dutch Wikipedia lists 21 titles). The first was Frog in Love, published by Andersen Press in 1989, which gained global recognition.

In his acceptance speech Velthuijs observed: “Drawing a frog is not so difficult. But how do you draw a frog in love? Or a frightened frog? And when I hear from parents and children how much they love Frog and his friends, I am overcome with joy and a feeling of accomplishment. And when you ask me how I did it, I have to answer that question with a simple ‘I do not know’.”

Jury president Jeffrey Garrett credited him with fables of human nobility, rather than Aesop’s “foolishness, vanity, and meanness”.

“The stories of Frog and his diverse group of friends are miniature morality plays for our age, demonstrating in framed vignettes, as if on a stage, that life can be hard but is in the end good, that there will be comfort: do not give up, do not lose faith, for you are stronger than you think, and you are not alone.”

This title is also available in:
Afrikaans (Padda en die voëlsang)
Xhosa (Isele nengoma yentaka)
Zulu (Uxoxo nengoma yenyoni)
Sesotho (Senqanoane le Nonyana e Binang)

Book details