Welcome to IBBY SA's Newsletter Number 2 - 2015
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Our Winter Newsletter features two IBBYSA stalwarts:  Robin Malan, who received a gold medal from the English Academy of Southern Africa on 22 April, and Jay Heale, with whom I sat down for a morning-long interview before his move out of Cape Town.  Yesterday, together with the Children’s  Book Network and BiblionefSA,  we hosted a lunch in Jay’s honour at SASNEV; and there was much reminiscing about Bookchat, the  South African Children’s Book Forum (now IBBYSA),  and the landmark IBBY Congress in Cape Town in 2004. These surely are his major contributions to South African children’s literature. 

In our interview Jay quoted a teaching mentor in his first school job who told him, “If we can get children reading we’ve done half our job”. 

I’ve just got back from IASL’s conference of school librarians in Maastricht where I was inspired by Stephen Krashen’s key note speech on the proven value of free voluntary reading (FVR) in schools. It made me resolve to follow up on the reading for pleasure literacy half hour programme that was introduced into our schools a few years ago.  I hear reports that teachers from the start tended to use it for remedial work and that in most schools it has just died. Perhaps IBBYSA should start a campaign to revive it?  Watch this space!
The IBBY Honour Books short listing is progressing well. Look out for our final short list to be sent out by email – then our final choices.  Our review section below highlights four books on the short lists. See more IBBYSA reviews HERE.

More good news for South African children’s publishing is the revival this year of the prestigious Katrine Harries award for illustration.  See Maritha Snyman’s announcement below for more information.

Genevieve Hart


News from Biblionef’ SA - 2015 books hand-over
Authumn Bookbash
IbbySA North news
An interview with Jay Heale
Robin Malan wins a gold medal
PRAESA and The Astrid Lindgren award (LATEST)
Kids Lit Finals - Team SA rocks the US
Review of Elwyn Jenkins’ book – Elaine Ridge
Ibby Congress 2016
Book Review
News from Biblionef SA


On the 11th May 2015 our Project Assistant, Nastassja Benjamin, had the opportunity of handing over a total of 3750 new storybooks to 14 Primary Schools! All of the 14 Primary Schools are from rural areas in Tweefontein, Mpumalanga and their home language ranged from isiNdebele to Sepedi. The majority of the schools had no home language storybooks.


Thanks must go to our amazing funder, IBBY SA. Its School Library Project has been funding Biblionef’s work in about 14 schools every year since 2003 when IBBY SA began its relationship with the generous benefactor, the Yamada Apiculture Centre in Japan.  In 2015 this project has given the children at these 14 schools the opportunity of having home language storybooks right at their fingertips!

See more by clicking HERE.
Autumn BookBash
by Isabel Essery
The IBBY SA Autumn BookBash was held on Thursday 23 April, World Book Day and Shakespeare’s birthday. We met in the foyer of the wonderful SASNEV in Pinelands, which they kindly made available to us for the evening. Robin Malan invited a panel of writers to talk about the kind of fiction that they write. All write for young people across a range of genres. The writers included Andre Eva Bosch, Cat Hellisen, Karen Jeynes, Charmaine Kendal and . The evening built on the themes discussed during our Summer BookBash, ‘Writing for South African Teens, what’s going on?’


The evening was informal and relaxed. We all sat around a long table, which meant we were able to have a conversation led by Robin that included everyone who attended. It was fascinating to talk to the writers about their writing processes, the way they approach each story, and how the seeds of their ideas become books. Robin asked each writer to answer some questions about their work. Was it issue-driven, character-driven, plot-driven, a combination of all three, or perhaps something completely different?
Cat Hellisen writes fantasy for children and adults. Some of her books include When the Sea is Rising Red and Beastkeeper. She spoke about her writing process, how her stories unfold and the challenges inherent to writing for teenagers. She reminded us how perceptive teenagers are, and how quick they are to pick up on any false notes. There was some discussion about the rise in popularity of fantasy and speculative fiction as perhaps a reaction to boring realism and social problems; as a way to escape and to let the reader’s imagination run riot. Cat felt that her work was not necessarily issue-driven, but that inevitably some issues might make an appearance as part of the story.  There is still not a huge amount South African fantasy for teens available; however, the demand is growing, and no doubt more of this genre will emerge as time goes on.


Charmaine Kendal, on the other hand, felt that her work was very much issue- and plot-driven. She has taught English in schools for many years, and her writing is often inspired by her experiences in the classroom. Her most recent book Miscast (See Book Reviews) was written to highlight the issues of transsexuality or transgenderism for teenagers. It is the first time that this subject has been written about in a South African teen novel. Charmaine said that plot and issue were at the forefront of her writing process. Similarly Andre Eva Bosch deals with hard-hitting issues faced by many South African teenagers in her award-winning book Alive Again.

Karen Jeynes writes for stage, television, radio and film, and she has also written teen novels for the Siyagruva Series including Flipside and Jacques Attack. Karen talked about the different processes that she goes through when writing; for example the tight deadlines for television do not allow for the meticulous rewriting and unpicking that writing a novel allows. It was fascinating to hear her talk about the way she approaches her writing, and it was especially illuminating for those of us who are not writers. What a privilege to hear about the excitement, as well as the sheer hard work and dogged persistence that go into creating a book, play or film script.
Zimkhitha Mlanzeli writes for Cover2Cover. Her teen novel Blood Ties forms part of the popular Harmony High Series. As well as writing, Zimkhitha also works for the FunDza Literacy Trust, which aims to make books and reading accessible and exciting for teenagers. She spoke about the great success that FunDza has had with their mobi site that is available on Mxit and on the Web. Here teenagers can publish their own work, and receive feedback from readers straight away, as well as have access to novels and stories that they can comment on. The delight of this system is that readers’ responses are immediate and honest. Stories can be read anywhere and at any time, whether you are on a train, a bus or at home. The themes and issues covered by the novels in the Harmony High series speak to the experiences of South African teens. What a joy for the authors of this series to be achieving what they set out to do – getting kids excited about reading!

We had a wonderful evening of lively discussion. Thank you to all the writers who gave us their time, and shared so much with us.  We ended the evening understanding a little more about the challenges and complexities of writing for teenagers.

The Katrine Harries Award for Children’s Book Illustrations

The Katrine Harries Award, the oldest and most prestigious award in South Africa for children’s book illustrations will again be awarded in 2015, 100 years after she was born.
The Katrine Harries Award has been awarded to the best of South African illustrators including artists like Katrine Harries, Niki Daly, Joan Rankin, Alida Bothma, Cora Coetzee, Jeremy Grimsdell, Jude Daly, Piet Grobler.
The award was created in the early 1960's by the SA Library Association and later taken over by the South African Institute for Library and Information Science (SAILIS). When SAILIS was disbanded, the new organisation, LIASA, was not interested in continuing with awards instituted by the SAILIS Board. The Children’s Literature Research Unit (CLRU) at Unisa was tasked to find new homes for the awards. Finding sponsors proved to be an uphill battle. The magazine Baba en Kleuter and later Nicol Stassen, the owner of Protea Boekhuis came to the rescue and agreed to sponsor the award from 1997. It was awarded the last time at the centenary of the University of Pretoria in 2008. A lack of resources and interest caused another six years to go by, but collaboration between the Department of Information Science at Unisa and IBBY North  has now again made it possible to continue with the award.
The award is presented biennially for illustrations in a South African children’s bookpublished between 2009-2010, 2011-2012 and 2013-2014.
Publishers are requested to submit books for the three outstanding Katrine Harries awards.
These awards will be presented at the Jozi Book Fair on Friday, 11 September 2015 at the reception.
® Only books by South African illustrators resident in South Africa and published in South Africa will be considered.

® The books must be bona fide picture books and not readers used at schools.
® Books in any official language of South Africa will be accepted. It is, however the quality and suitability of the illustrations that will be judged.
® A maximum of three books published in each period (2009-2010, 2011-2012 and 2013-2014) must be submitted.
® If a printed copy of a book is not available an electronic copy will be accepted.
® Books must reach Prof van der Walt  no later than 30 July 2015. His delivery/postal address is The Department of Information Science, Unisa, Muckleneuk Campus, 0005. His email is Personal deliveries can be made at Unisa, Theo van Wijk Building, room 10-174.
® Enquiries can be addressed to Samantha Buitendach ( and Jana Moller (
An Interview with Jay Heale
by Genevieve Hart  (11 June 2015)

Jay Heale’s announcement that he was “retiring” to Napier was the catalyst for a morning-long interview in which we reflected on his life in South African children’s literature.  I think of his “retirement” in inverted commas as the good news is that he will stay involved - planning to continue with Bookchat for example.    I had ten questions ready – covering how he came to South Africa as a young teacher, how he became what I have at times called “Mr SA Children’s Literature”, and how he sees IBBY.  But we meandered off the path a fair amount. What follows here is a condensation of some 28 pages of transcribed notes.

I was struck by a phrase in his CV  in which he describes himself as  “author, editor, publisher, school librarian, actor, barman, journalist, poet, reviewer, film director, traveller, wine writer, and circus storyteller” and begin by asking him how all these threads wove together, if indeed they did.  He replies by pointing out that teaching in small private schools never built a fat bank balance and his variety of jobs were all about extra income. Ironically his attempts to make money usually involved books – notoriously bad money-earners.   I was interested to hear of his job for Boswell Wilkie Circus as a storyteller in the late 1960s, which earned him money for a trip to spend Christmas with his brother in Johannesburg. His brief was to warm up the audience with stories of the happy lives of the circus animals. He learned a lot about stage craft from having to work his audience from inside the cage set up around the ring for the grand entrance of the lions (useful as well to protect him he says from the rowdy children).
Teacher as performer
“You don’t teach what you say – you teach what you are”

Clearly “performing” has been an important thread in Jay’s life, in amateur and professional theatre  and on conference platforms - and also interestingly in the classroom.  As a boy he wanted to follow his much-loved brother on to the stage but his father insistedthat he take a university degree first.  His Oxford degree was geared towards teaching and indeed he describes his approach to teaching as a mix of “performing” and “selling”  – claiming intriguingly “You don’t teach what you say – you teach what you are”.


Unhappily sent to boarding school at nine years old, he discovered that he could, as he says, “retreat” into books and later as a teacher he understood the potential power of books in young people’s lives.  After the preoccupation with exams and academic results in the UK,  the freedom of his South African schools allowed him to bring his classes the joy of reading and Jay spent hours reading aloud to his classes. His teaching mentor in his first school job, Tom Simpson, used to tell him, “If we can get children reading we’ve done half our job”.  On my asking why it is so hard to convince teachers and officials of the value of reading,  he tells the story of a departmental official  who asked him: “Right Mr Heale, suppose we allow children to read in school time, what is it that the teachers are doing in that time?”
The birth of Bookchat
“It’s such a paradox that everybody wants children to be able to
read – but nobody cares what they read” 

Jay knew that to entice children to books he had to read them himself. So he set himself on a crash course in children’s books – and books became a central part of his work at the school.  He was always hunting for good South African books for the school library and started a book club which met once a term. Word spread and he began to write up the meetings in a newsletter - and in 1976 Bookchat was born. Now published as a web site it has had 208 issues.  At one time it had 800 subscribers throughout South Africa – providing, he says, a useful service to people in rural areas far from book shops.   Its fundamental goal is to “sing the praises of our own South African children’s literature.”  
By the late 1970s visiting writers and publishers were attending his club – some from out of South Africa.   On my asking about the cultural boycotts in these times, Jay tells me that “Yes, we were being cut off from the world but not by all. I bless them – they werefor the children!”  The book club brought him out of his school to the wider literary world,  which he says came to “envelop” him . He began to speak on the radio and at conferences, such as the 1979 UCT Summer School, and found that, although at first worrying  that he had little to offer, “I hit the right note”.
“Five days of increasing chaos – everyone loved it” 

In 1983 Rosey Bennett, a children’s book specialist in the provincial Department of Education, came to the club enthusing about that year’s IBBY Congress in Cambridge.  She’d sat next to one of her favourite writers, Quentin Blake, and he’d been “charming”.    IBBY would not allow official South African membership so South Africans were going as independent delegates.   Jay signed up for the next congress and came back with his eyes opened to children’s publishing in the rest of Africa.  He says “I just got the feeling that this IBBY – they had to come to Africa”.  He kept returning to IBBY congresses and lobbying for South African membership.  In the meantime the South African Children's Book Forum (SACBF) had come into being after the symposium at UWC in 1987,  Towards Understanding – “Marjorie van Heerden’s brainwave – and Isabel Cillier’s”.  It was a wonderful gathering of 550 people – “five days of increasing chaos”, that everyone loved. It included speakers from Africa.  In 1991 IBBY wrote to SACBF inviting it to join – Jay raised the membership fees for the first three years by appealing to his Book Chat subscribers.  By this time Jay had left his teaching job, wanting to stretch his wings after a lifetime in schools.


Jay’s passion for IBBY comes through in his anecdotes about SACBF’s entry into IBBY in 1992. He returns to a sentiment that emerged earlier in the interview – saying he still finds it incredible: “I, an assistant teacher from the UK with no qualification in children’s literature, became a voting member for South Africa at IBBY general meetings.  It was an incredible feeling – me a bloody rooinek - anincredible honour!”   At the IBBY Congress in Spain in 1994 Jay says the South African contingent (including Isabel Randall, Eve Jammy, Dianne Hofmeyr, Magdaleen Bester) was treated as if “we were responsible for democracy!"

Two strands of thought emerge in our talk of what IBBY has meant to Jay.  On one level it gave him an entrée to the international elite in the field. In talking of the Hans Christian Andersen jury, he recounts his astonishment that he, “just an enthusiast”, was working with renowned world experts.  Perhaps it is this awe of their reputations that fuelled his determination to be always “well prepared”  “better than many of my colleagues” – and this he says is probably why he was elected to chair the jury in 2000. On a lighter note he acknowledges the fun and personal friendships he found at the international gatherings.  He remembers with joy the conviviality of drinking wine with fellow book enthusiasts around the world. (Perhaps his love of good wine is another of the connecting threads that I asked about at the start of our interview!)   
IBBY Congress in Cape Town 2004
“It put Africa on the IBBY map.”

Jay had warned me that I might have to cut him short in talking of the Cape Town congress.  From his first IBBY congress he plotted and planned to get it to South Africa.  He admits that his “stubborn pride” drove him.   The pride is his own nature but also pride in South African children's literature which he wanted to show to the international IBBY world. 

On my asking what might have made the Cape Town congress in 2004 stand out, I’m pleasantly surprised when Jay quotes my own words at an early meeting, in 2000. Apparently I proclaimed “If we are to do all this hard work, children in South Africa must benefit!"  According to Jay, this principle became a “banner” and from then on it was assumed that children would be visible at the congress and other children outside its confines should benefit.  It underlay the congress’s so-called Schools Programme, which brought core libraries to 50 schools and which has evolved into IBBY SA’s School Library project. In partnership with Biblionef, each year another 15schools are added to the list of 50 schools.  [See Jean Williams’s report below on this year’s books hand-over].   Jay tells the story of his meeting in 2003 with Mr Yamada, the Japanese businessman and philanthropist who was to fund these two projects.  On his visit to Japan Jay showed the video created ahead of the Cape Town congress. Afterwards Mr Yamada came up to him saying through an interpreter "I understand you want to put books into schools – how many schools do you want to work with?” Thinking on his feet, Jay replied “Perhaps 100”.  A few weeks later an email arrived offering to pay for 100 school libraries.


This anecdote short-circuits my next question, coming from my scepticism over the benefits for South Africa of grand international conferences.  But Jay dismisses such scepticism.  He is convinced that the 2004 congress served to put Africa on the IBBY map. It showed South Africa to be a serious player in the world of children’s literature.  To him IBBY congresses are all about international connections: the connections made in 2004 continue today with, for example, IBBY Sweden still a supporter of South African projects like PRAESA’s.    
The point of IBBY SA today
“We are all on the same side”  

My last questions ask for Jay’s opinion on the distinctive role of IBBY SA today.  South Africa has some excellent children’s reading projects   - where do we fit in? He first talks of the fundamental role of IBBY in nurturing quality in children’s books, which is as important as ever: “IBBY’s job is to recognise the results and achievements of authors and illustrators." 

Then we talk of how the different members of IBBY adapt to their specific circumstances. In the USA access to books is less of an issue – whereas in Brazil and South Africa it is. I bemoan the “bitter-sweet” success of our NPOs’ reading and books projects - they win international prizes yet education authorities are slow to learn from them.  Jay talks of the “gulf between what we know is good and our schools”.  “We can’t get it into the heads of people in charge of [school] libraries and education systems…”.  

We finish our morning together agreeing that an important role for IBBY in South Africa is to build connections to what he calls “officialdom”, and among the various role-players.  As he says:  “IBBY’s job is to link people together – to show that we are all on the same side. We are not competing with each other.”  


On standing up to leave, Jay repeats that he is just an “enthusiast” – but he then gives a more accurate description of his contribution to our children’s literature: “I’m a  flag waver,  a crusader!”  

On 22 April 2015, the English Academy of Southern Africa awarded its Gold Medal to our own Robin Malan (IBBY SA Chairperson 2007-2012). Appropriately this was at the end of an evening to celebrate SACEE’s diamond jubilee and English Alive, of which Robin was one of the founding editors in 1967. The award was in recognition of a lifetime of service to English in education, theatre and publishing. And what a career his has been!


Robin has published widely: novels for teenagers and one for children, an award-winning play, compilations of poetry, short stories and plays for adults and children, and a column, “Young Gay Guys” in the gay newspaper Exit for 11 years, not to mention Ah Big Yaws. The Siyagruva novels, of which he was series editor, was a breath of fresh air in writing for teenagers.
Robin has made a lifetime contribution to developing a love of literature in young people, encouraging them to find their “voice” and inspiring them to write. Since 2005, his independent publishing house, Junkets, has published the work of young, emerging playwrights. He has also supported the work of young writers as a board or council member of the Arts & Culture Trust, the Cape 300 Foundation, and the Caine Prize for African Writing.

Almost everything Robin has done has been marked by the desire to open opportunities for others. In playwright Nicholas Spagnoletti’s words, “He is a treasure.”   Elaine Ridge
Strong feelings when PRAESA received
the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2015

It was an emotional moment when Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) was presented to the South African reading promotion PRAESA by Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke. PRAESA, Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, is the first laureate ever from the African continent.


At the Stockholm Concert Hall PRAESA was represented by Director Carole Bloch, Training Coordinator Ntombizanele Mahobe and Programmes Support Officer Malusi Ntoyapi. In her speech Carole Bloch emphasized how stories actually can change children’s and young people’s lives: "We believe that the stories we tell, write and read can change lives. Sharing stories inspire us all to struggle against becoming overwhelmed by the challenges we meet each day in our fractured and profoundly unequal society. This is also the impetus behind the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign PRAESA runs."


The Minister for Culture and Democracy, Alice Bah Kuhnke, underlined the importance of culture for democracy, said, "For me as a minister of both culture and democracy it is very encouraging to see PRAESAs successful work using culture to strengthen democracy. A wide range of culture, arts and literature that reaches both adults and children is a prerequisite for democratic development and for preserving democracy."

Artist Kristina Amparo performed her own songs during the evening, and Swedish rap artist Petter performed his own text Fäller en tår. The program also included a street dance performance inspired by the South African Kwaito music style. Host for the evening was Ingemar Fasth, Head of Literature and Libraries at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern.


In what became an extraordinarily close and tense competition, Team South Africa recently captured second place in the Kids Lit Quiz World Finals at the Central Connecticut State University in the USA.  The four learners from Manor Gardens Primary School  in Durban, who were featured on SABC's Expresso Show in the run up to the event, finished one point ahead of the host nation, the USA, on 28 points, managing to stay largely ahead of the international pack throughout.  New Zealand eventually won with a very convincing 37.


IBBY SA would like to extend a huge WELL DONE to Tajel, William, Saneha and Ezrah for their marvellous achievement.
Seedlings: English Children’s Reading & Writing in South Africa.
By Elwyn Jenkins (UNISA Press 2012 )

Elwyn Jenkins has made a substantial contribution to research on children’s literature in Southern Africa. This volume brings together his scholarly essays on literature written in English for, by and about children, as well as on the people who wrote them. He goes beyond literature written by South Africans or published in South Africa, and includes books that have significant South African content.


Only one of these chapters has not been published before. This one (Chapter 12) gives an overview of verse written between 1901 and 1950, highlighting its failure to reflect the diversity of South Africa and its tendency to draw on European culture. The other chapters, which were written between 1997 and 2008 have been carefully revised to bring them up to date. Chapters 17 and 18 will be especially useful to researchers and others with a serious interest in South African children’s literature written in English. Chapter 17 provides a critical review of the sources available and Chapter 18 thoughtfully considers the contribution made by research thus far and identifies some of the gaps. The strength of the book is Jenkins’s meticulous approach to academic writing. He has taken great care to be accurate and to acknowledge any limitations in the information or views he presents. At the same time, part of the charm of the book is the strong voice that emerges in asides and personal views expressed.

I found two chapters particularly appealing. One is Chapter 2 in which Jenkins provides a fascinating discussion of the interplay between the text and other material: ‘what the authors, editors, guest writers of forewords, publishers, critics quoted on the covers’ (p. 2), among others, have to say, as well as information on the writer, the intended and actual audience, why the book was written, its relationship with other books and how it has been read. The other is Chapter 10. Here Jenkins explores the role of cigarette cards, which were a covert means of promoting patriotism. I remember filling albums on South African history, national parks and flora and fauna.

This is not the kind of book likely to be read from cover to cover. However, a range of people will find it an invaluable reference work: teachers, librarians, pre-service education students and researchers among them.   This is a welcome addition to writing on South African children’s literature. It should stimulate further research.

Review by Elaine Ridge

Our AGM will take place 6 August at 17.00pm at SASNEV, Pinelands. On hearing rumours that Jean Williams of BiblionefSA is thinking of retirement, we booked her as our guest speaker. She will engage in a dialogue with me. We know her as a tireless advocate of her organisation, but I’m hoping to dig a little deeper and get to know her on a more personal level.

Genevieve Hart  
The 35th IBBY Congress, to be held in Auckland, New Zealand between 18-21 August 2016, is calling for papers/presentations.Here are a couple of important dates for you to bear in mind -
Current: call for presentations
30 September 2015:  deadline for submissions
31 January 2016: notification of acceptance
Dates for registration
 1 September 2015: Early Bird registration opens
1 April 2016: standard registration opens
1 July: late registration
Please share this information with your national members and all who would be interested in participating in what will be another exciting IBBY Congress!  More information can be found on the Congress website

Reviews Editor Isabel Essery
The past few IBBY BookBashes have concentrated on books for teenagers. We have had wonderful opportunities to listen to writers and publishers, and as a result we have learned a lot more about what is available for teens, and what they are asking for. Genevieve Hart has reviewed Miscast by Charmaine Kendal which is the first South African novel for teenagers to highlight the important issue of transsexuality or transgenderism.
As well as books for teenagers, we have had some wonderful illustrated books to review. Included in these is the charming and quirky and Who is King? 10 magical stories from Africa written by Beverley Naidoo and illustrated by Piet Grobler. All of these books are a reminder of the high standard of story-telling and illustration in South Africa. What a delight they were to read!

A new departure in this newsletter is Lona Gericke's overview of Afrikaans language books in the last six months.

For even more IBBY SA reviews click on the links below -
For Young readers:

by Charmaine Kendal (Junkets 2015)


From his earliest memories Caleb has felt miscast – finding himself squeezed uncomfortably into a body that doesn’t suit. He’s constantly surprised to see a girl looking back at him in the mirror. Now, from the vantage point of 15 years, he tells the story of his struggles to understand himself and find a place.  Just when he thinks he has weathered the worst a teen party shatters his hard-won peace.  Using her skills as a dramatist, the author structures Caleb’s  story in a series of episodes or scenes  - using the device of Shakespeare’s  seven ages of man to recount the key landmarks on his inner journey.   Knowing that the book is “important” and “groundbreaking” in its choice of theme, I picked it up with some misgivings – fearing that it might be one of those “problem” books that are didactic tracts  thinly disguised as fiction.  But Caleb – or Cathryn as he is at the start – soon pulled me in and I swallowed up the book in one sitting.  The directness and sincerity of Caleb’s first-person accounts, as well as the clever pacing of the storyline, make it a satisfying read I think for most teenagers.  The book has strong messages for its adult readers on the ordeals that confront any young school-goer who is “different” and that are aggravated by the power of today’s pervasive social media.

On putting down the book I can’t help thinking of the plight of the miscast children who will not have Caleb’s good-fortune in his understanding mother and the resources to take refuge in the gentler environment of a small private school.  The book should be compulsory reading for all our teachers.     

Genevieve Hart  June 2015

Rhinocephants on the roof
by Marita van der Vyver illustrated by Dale Blankenaar (Tafelberg 2015)


Originally published in 1996 by Human and Rousseau, Marita van der Vyfer’s  gentle, compassionate and quirky story about a little boy who suffers from night fears has been given a marvellous, fresh take with Dale Blankenberg’s fabulous illustrations.

Daniel is having his first sleepover at his grandparents house and he hears noises in all sorts of places; on the roof, in the bathroom, under the bed, in the cupboard. His imagination runs riot and the monsters get progressively closer and more terrifying. I love the wonderful monster names, crocopotamus and gruraffe to name a couple!

The whole book works with the text to create a visual story. From the unusual long, thin old fashioned house to the shape of the book, to the clever cover, title page and endpapers. The illustrations are superb with different perspectives and such amazing detail.

This is a book to pour over and enjoy again and again and I look forward to sharing this book with my grandchildren. There is so much to look at in each illustration and we will enjoy following progress of the teddy bear, cat and mouse as we move through the book.

Well done to Tafelberg on producing a fabulous book of international standard.

Also available in Afrikaans: Olinosters op die dak.
Kathy Madlener

Who is King? 10 magical stories from Africa
By Beverley Naidoo and Piet Grobler (Jacana 2015)


Award winning author Beverley Naidoo has collected 10 very different but often humorous stories from all over Africa. She has breathed new life into these tales with her flowing and engaging style.

Some of the stories you might have read before, such is “How the elephant got his trunk”. Others like “Why Hippo has no hair”, were new to me.  But it really doesn’t matter because enlivened by Piet Grobler’s colourful and humorous illustrations, these stories can all be enjoyed over and over again.

I really love all Piet’s illustrations, but I am especially fond of his expressive and zany elephants, they are such a joy. I was particularly amused by the sight of One Tusk, the rather nasty elephant in the tale “Unanana and One Tusk”, getting his comeuppance, smoke pouring out of every orifice, while the children he has swallowed alive climb gleefully out, unharmed.

Handy notes at the back of the book explain the origins of the stories.

Kathy Madlener

Chuck Norris Kan Deel  Deur Nul
By Annelie Ferreira (Tafelberg, 2014)


Hierdie jeugroman het so pas die SANLAM-prys vir jeuglektuur se goue medalje 2013 verower.

Die Mullers se huis in 12de straat : Hier woon Albert se Ouma, ‘n wewenaar Pa, Marlie die 16jarige dogter, die verkleurmannetjie Dompeldorius ,en Albert. Albert dink Steve Jobs was cool. Hy is mal oor Chuck Norris grappe . Hy is die verteller in die verhaal en vanaf die inleidende paragraaf neem hy die leser op ‘n reis waarin jy sy drome leer ken, sy beste vriend Ashish, sy Ouma wat heel dikwels wegraak in winkels; Lungelo die skoolseun van wie hy aanfanklik nie baie hou nie; en dan die nuwe intrekkers oorkant die straat- Janine wat verwagtend is en ‘n man wat later blyk haar broer te wees. Twee onderwysers is betrokke by die verhaal se verloop- Meneer Potgieter wat hulle ‘n EWB taak laat doen en die Yskoningin- die LO onderwyseres.

Albert se bynaam by die skool is Mini-Me want hy is kort. Maar Albert is “lank” as ‘n  dromer, want hy voel “voor jy iets kan doen, moet jy iets kan droom”. Soos Steve Jobs. Hy neem fotos as ‘n stokperdjie  en hy en Ashish is mal oor games en speel gereeld in die Akasia Mall. Hulle hoor dat die games arcade gaan toemaak. Baie later sal hul uitvind wie die eienaar is.

Hierdie is die dinge en mense in sy lewe wat hom raak:

Hulle gesin: sy ouma se gereelde wegrakery; Marlie se simple eks-boyfriends; sy Pa wat gedurig besig is en hom as die toekomstige Drain Wizard and Son kandidaat sien; en Marlie se snaakse idees dat hul oorlede ma nie dood is nie.

Die skool:  Hy en Ashish se belangrike projek vir EWB wat handel oor sy droom om elke minderbevoorregte kind in die land van tweedehandse selfone te voorsien.

Marlie se vriendin Suzanne –‘n droom-meisie;  die verkleurmannetjie Dompeldorius vir wie Albert baie lief is; en baie belangrik- Chuck Norris –grappe – Albert is mal oor sulke grappe en vertel dit gedurig. 

Hierdie verhaal  bied die leser ‘n interessante, geloofwaardige en vermaaklike kykie in die lewe van ‘n gewone Suid Afrikaanse gesin en die jongmense met Albert as die spreekbuis vir hul drome en gevoelens.

Die karakteruitbeelding is oortuigend . Die styl gemaklik, snaaks, kort  sinne vertel die storie. Die spanningselement word goed gehandhaaf- hoekom verdwyn Ouma gedurig?; waarom dink Marlie hul ma leef nog?; wie stuur eposse aan Marlie en wie is die man Steve  wat sy gaan ontmoet?; gaan sy e-pos aan Bill Gates vrugte afwerp?; gaan  Janine na haar baba se geboorte ‘n groter rol in hul gesin speel?; wat gaan gebeur met hul EWB taak wat Meneer Potgieter administreer?

Dit is veral Albert se humorsin, beeldspraak en kommentaar en Chuck Norris grappe wat ek die meeste geniet het. Sy verhouding met sy Ouma is ook heerlik om te deel.Hy is altyd besorg oor haar; spot oor die slegte kos wat sy maak:Sy Ouma se Chinese herderspastei: As die Chinese dit regtig gereeld eet , kan daar onmoontlik soveel van hulle op die aarde wees”;-Sy Ouma se verdwynery wat dalk ‘n “alien abduction” kan wees; die baie visvingers wat sy koop is genoeg “vir ‘n gesin robbe vir ‘n jaar lank”.Hy sê van Steve:”As daai man hot is, is ek wraggies so warm jy kan met my sweis”.

Tieners sal kan identifiseer met die Muller gesin en die mense by wie hulle betrokke is. Die tieners verteenwoordig menige tiener in die drome wat hul nastreef, die frustrasies van verhoudinge met maats en ouers; maar ook die issue van ‘n oorlede ma en ‘n dogter se behoefte om met haar kontak te maak. Daar is ‘n opregte warm gevoel wat dwarsdeur die boek loop. Selfs die feit dat sy Ouma se optrede suggereer dat sy mediese hulp nodig het, word fyn ingeweef in die verhaal. Die verskillende spanningselemente word ook dwarsdeur die verhaal gedra en tot ‘n klimaks gebring.

Hierdie is ‘n volwaardige wenner van die SANLAM prys virJeuglektuur.Ideaal vir biblioteke en sal ‘n welcome voorgeskrewe  werk vir skole kan wees.

Lona Gericke

Fanie Viljoen (LAPA, 2014)


Die skrywer dra hierdie tienerverhaal op aan “ Vir julle wat soek; vir julle wat wil moed opgee, en vir julle wat weet dat dit uiteindelik beter word”.

Brent is in Graad 10. Hy dink da thy party dae in ‘n malhuis woon. Sy vriende is Kevin, Vince en De Waal. Hulle almal, behalwe Vince speel rugby.Kevin is die leier van die groep wat gedurig spog oor al sy gelukkies met die meisies.

Aanfanklik ervaar die leser  ‘n normale skool situasie met tienerseuns wat optree soos die leser sou verwag van hulle.  Maar gou word dit duidelik dat Brent “anders” is.  Hy vertel dat hy maar min ervaring het met meisies, hy praat van sy vrees vir meisies. Wanneer Nita in hom begin belangstel en hy na haar partytjie genooi word, kry hy die geleentheid om haar te soen.” Maar iets is verkeerd”.  Hierna volg ‘n ander opmerking dat daar iets is waaroor sy pa nie so trots sal wees as hy uitvind nie. In die stort pak sy skuldgevoelens hom beet. Hy wil van De Waal weet of alle ouens so oor girls is soos Kevin. Om regtig seker te maak hoe hy sou voel as hy seks met Nita het, doen hy dit, maar ervaar geen spesiale emosies of  gevoel vir haar nie:”Wat ‘n wonderlike ervaring moes wees, is heeltemaal leeg”. En verder:” Ek was nog nooit so hartseer nie”.

Dan noem hy later dat die ding aan hom krap al vandat hy dertien was. Dalk langer. Hy het gedink hy kan dit onderdruk, “maar dit is soos hierdie onverstaanbare ding wat elke keer in my kop opkom.”

Wanneer hulle teen Redhill rugby speel sien hy vir ‘n oomlik die aantreklike ou wat vir hom glimlag. Dit ruk aan sy binnekant; sy beeld bly hom by.

Met ‘n volgende wedstryd verloor Brent ‘n drie toe hy uittrap .Die Redhill ou kom hom troos en Kevin sien dit. So word hy en Kevin se  speletjie van altyd grapsgewys dreig –ek en jy agter die gym, ‘n werklikheid.  Brent se geheim word openbare nuus.  Hy het nou indirek “uitgekom”. Dit is ‘n risiko, almal kan hom verstoot; maar nou hoef hy nie meer vir himself te lieg nie; en heel moontlik sal sy gesin hom nie verstoot nie.    Of sal hulle?

Fanie Viljoen skryf hier ‘n eerlike onopgesmukte verhaal waarin die worsteling van ‘n tienerseun met sy emosies en behoeftes  oortuigend uitgebeeld word. Daar word nie doekies omgedraai of systappe geneem nie- Brent verteenwoordig ellke seun of dogter wat aanvaarding soek vir wie hulle eintlik is.

‘n Werk wat nuttig gebruik kan word in besprekings op skool oor hierdie belangrike onderwerp. Hoogs aanbeveel ook vir selflees .  Ouderdomsgroep 17+ Die skrywer  gee ook raad vir hulle wat wil uitkom in die laaste twee bladsye.
Lona Gericke

Afrikaans kinder-en jeugboeke – ‘n oorsig van
publikasies vir Jan-Julie 2015

Deur Lona Gericke


Soos reeds bewys met die produksie van vorige jare het die afgelope 6 maande weereens boeke van goeie gehalte en oorspronklikheid  opgelewer.  Ek het ‘n indeling gemaak vir vertalings, prenteboeke, boeke vir jonger lesers,  en vir tieners. Hierdie is maar ‘n paar titels en verteenwoordig nie uitgewers wat nie Afrikaanse boeke voorgelê het vir resensies nie.

Wat vertalings aanbetref doen PROTEA uitgewers ‘n groot en belangrike bydrae. Daar is die Liewe Heksie deur Knister met pragtige kleurvolle omslae gevul met avonture deur ‘n kordaat dogtertjie wat stuit vir niks. Mimus deur Lilli Thal is ‘n fantasieverhaal vir ouer lesers wat boei  en jou betrek; daar is keurige prenteboeke soos Die ruwe berg deur Elnar Turkowski; Die vallei van die windmeulens deur Noelia Blanco en 3 titels oor ‘n kat deur Gilles Bachelet .Die klein spokie deur Otfried Preussler is uit Duits vertaal en is snaaks en sjarmant. Speurder Kwaaikofski –soene en sirkusse , deur Jurgen Banscherus(H&R)  is ook ‘n lekker leesbare reeks waarvan 10 boeke reeds  verskyn het.

Vir die kleintjies  is daar die pragtige boek Olinosters op die dak deur Marita van der Vyver geillustreer deur Dale Blankenaar ( Tafelberg) ; Oerwoudpartytjie en Prettige plaas in die reeks Vrolike vriende-soek en pas( H&R); Moenie die knoppie druk nie deur Jaco Jacobs(LAPA) met illustrasies deur Chris Venter; en Liewe Heksie Leesboeke 1-3 deur Verna Vels (H&R) besonder keurig geillustreer deur VianOelofsen.

Jonger lesers 7-9jaar+ kan die Modderspore reeks lees deur Jenny Oldfield(LAPA) – 2 titels Mooi so, Toffie en Kom hier Karnallie!  Professor Fungus en die jelliemonsters van Mars(LAPA) deur Jaco Jacobs met illustrasies deur Johann Strauss  is die sewende titel in ‘n gewilde reeks. Ook Professor Fungus en die BreinDrein-eksperiment word gepubliseer.   My ouma is ‘n film-ster deur Jaco Jacobs(LAPA) volg na My ouma is ‘n rock-ster wat reeds agt drukoplae beleef het.

Helen Brain en Nicky Webb se Tania en die perdry-kompetisie ( H&R) is die tweede titel in die Veearts-vriende reeks en handel oor ‘n deurmekaar-familie met ‘n veearts ma en eksentrieke kinders. Lotta se lewe-‘n haas uit die hoed(H&R) deur Alice Pantermüller is die vyfde titel in hierdie reeks en Lotta het reeds ‘n groot aanhang. Speurhond Willem en die diamantdiewe deur Elizabeth Wasserman (Tafelberg) was op die kortlysvir die MER prys vir geillustreerde kinderboeke en is die sesde boek in ‘n uiters gewilde reeks.  Bravo Lulu deur Fanie Viljoen (LAPA) is ‘n storie vir ballet-liefhebbers met fyn illustrasies in sagtepastelkleure.

Vir Tieners  is baie belangrik die twee SANLAM pryswenners- Chuck Morris kan deel deur nul deur Annelie Ferreira(Goue medalje- Tafelberg); en Moord per suurlemoen deur Jelleke Wierenga( (Tafelberg- silwer medalje wenner). Nnuwe leesstof  is onlangs Pieter Verwey se Clint Eastwood en die moordenaarsklok(Tafelberg)  - ‘n kombinasie van fantasie en wetenskapfiksie, en een van my gunsteling-boeke  deur   Carin Krahtz – Elton amper-famous April en Juffrou Brom (Tafelberg) ‘n spesialeboek  oor ‘n seun vir wie Afrikaans aanfanklik “swaar op sy binneste gelê het “ ensy verhouding met die juffrou wat Afrikaans vir hom toeganklikgemaak het.

Twee lekker ontspanningsverhale vir tieners is Marga Jonker-City girl en die swart hings(Tafelberg) en Christien Neser se Franse vlegsel (LAPA). Laasgenoemde is die sesde boek indie reeks met Elle Kroon as die hoofkarakter.

Liefde is ‘n sprokie saamgestel deur Santie Nel (H&R) is ‘n versameling van 22 kort liefdesstories met as uitgangspunt bekende sprokies soos Rooikappie, die Paddaprins aangepas by ‘n modern milieu.

Swemlesse vir ‘n meermin deur Marita van der Vyver( Tafelberg) is die opvolg van die briljante boek Die ongelooflike avonture vanHanna Hoekom.  Die hoofkarakter skryf hier ‘n tipe “handleiding” vir haar jonger sussie as ‘n tiener-gids.

Derick van der Walt -  Bambaduze( Tafelberg) bewys weereens dat hy een van die belangrikste skrywers van jeugboeke in Afrikaans is.

Lona Gericke  Julie 2015  

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