Remember how reading stories as a little girl would send you on an adventure? Or maybe you can’t because you were not raised with a reading culture, but it’s no different to the way your mind takes you away even as you read as an adult.
As much as we want our children to start reading early, we also want literature that they can read and resonate with. We need representation and so do our children.
Here is a list of South African children’s books that can get your little ones started on reading literature where they can see themselves and make them proud of who they are.
Mpumi’s Magic Beads
Author: Lebo Masango & Masego Morulane
A special story about friendship, self-esteem, discovery and beautiful hair, set in the city of Johannesburg. It follows the sudden adventures of Mpumi, Asante and Tshiamo as they see the world around them from new heights and realise all of the fun waiting to be discovered outside of their classroom. This story is a great read for the whole family, especially children aged between 4 – 8 years old.
It helps that it’s written by Lebo Masango, because you can track some of her work and get a back story of who she is and what she writes about. When asked about the book on The Daily Vox; “I want little girls to see themselves and see names that they recognize and hairstyles and places that they recognize.”
Sing Thando Sing
Author: Nthabeleng Sekhokoane
Sing Thando Sing is a book about a little girl who is bullied at school
about her voice, until she finally stands up for herself. A very
inspiring and uplifting book for boys and girls!
The author; Nthabeleng, is a journalist, writer and raises funds for NGOs. The book is based on some of her childhood adventures and deals with bullying, believing in yourself and following your dreams.
Author: Matau Mapuputla
Bathobela Can is a children’s book about a young girl who has a speech delay. This affects her every day and her confidence. Bathobela is very blessed to have a supportive mother who takes her time to teach Bathobela things that society believes that a child with special needs will not achieve.
The aim of this book is to inspire, educate and give hope to the little ones. It also encourages a new way of parenting, in bringing parents to the awareness of comparing children.
Bathobela Can is inspired by the author’s experience in raising a child with a speech delay. She wants other parents to know that having a child with any form of special needs doesn’t mean limitations.
Sindi and the Moon
Author: Zanele Dlamini
Sindi is a little girl who lives in a farm with her parents and grandmother. The thought of starting big school makes her a bit nervous because all she knows is being home and she’s worried if she will be able to manage at school and if anything in her life will change. The book explores the life of this little girl as she moves from being a child who stayed at home to starting big school.
When asked about why she decided to write children’s books, she said on Kaya FM that for her identification is really important. As a child who grew up loving to read, she could never identify with stories like Little Red Riding Hood or Little Miss Magic, but she identified with stories told by her grandmother.
This is Zanele’s first children’s book but not her first published piece of work. Some of her previous work includes; Plumeria and Wounds of Ignorance.
You can buy these books and more on Ethnikids. https://ethnikids.co.za/collections/local