The Western Cape Government reports only 14% of South Africans are active book readers, and only 5% of parents read to their children. South Africa’s literacy is concerningly low, and there’s a sweeping movement to combat this through a culture of reading – much of which happens at home. This Heritage Month, takealot.com has compiled a list of the best South African children’s books to get little ones to fall in love with literature.
To instil a culture of reading from a young age, it is important that children’s literature is written in their own language and in the context of their home country. To do this, home-grown authors need to be celebrated and actively supported to ensure they continue to publish in all local languages.
Here’s Takealot’s list of top locally-produced children’s books:
Mpumi’s Magic Beads by Lebohang Masango
“The beads jingle and jangle and sparkle. The girls all giggle with glee!” Mpumi and her friends discover the magic in her hair, and what begins as an ordinary school day in Joburg is suddenly full of adventure everywhere! A delightful story that’s all about companionship and self-confidence in the City of Gold.
Available in English, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu and Setswana.
Imicibisholo (Bows and Arrows) by D.B.Z.. Ntuli
Imicibisholo is the only Zulu collection of 25 stories written by one author. In this self-titled collection, Ntuli leaves us in no doubt about his storytelling ability. It introduces the characters of the book to the challenge of decision-making.
Available in IsiZulu only.
Modianyewe by M.M. Makappa:
An excellent collection of Sesotho poems dealing with various social issues.
Available in Southern Sesotho only.
Bunjalo Ubomi by L.S Ngcangata
A short story book detailing the various life events that the author experienced in the world, allowing the reader an opportunity to figure out and express his or her own opinion on what they have learned from the story.
Available in IsiXhosa only.
Die Goorgomgaai by Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo is an award-winning rhyming story of a mouse and a monster that’s now a modern classic, and will enchant children for years to come. With over 13 million copies sold worldwide, the book has won several prizes for children’s literature, and has been developed into plays and even an Oscar-nominated animated film. Celebrate 15 years of the award-winning family favourite with this special commemorative edition.
Available in English and Afrikaans.
For more books, visit takealot.com
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