Posted on | June 10, 2010 | 20 Comments
With the Football World Cup kicking off tomorrow in South Africa it seems like a perfect opportunity to find out a little more about children’s picture books from South Africa. Although I’ve done a fair bit of research (more on this below), I have been rather hampered by the fact that our local library has recently closed “for the foreseeable future” because asbestos has been discovered there… I feel bereft!
Anyway, through the online library catalogue and inter-library loan and a bus trip to another library we’ve come up with a book that we’ve really taken to – The Dove by Dianne Stewart, illustrated by Jude Daly.
The Dove, set in the South African province of Natal, tells the story of Lindi and her Grandmother who are tying to make ends meet after a flood destroys crops and sweeps away many animals. They make beaded trinkets to sell in tourist shops in Durban but have little success until they decide instead of their usual keyrings to make a dove, inspired by the first animal on their land after the flood had subsided. Their beaded animals and people are a hit and now Lindi and her Grandmother need not worry about having enough money until the next harvest.
M loved the story because of the sewing/creating theme, J enjoyed the small details in the illustrations (which actually reminded me a little of Gauguin in their style), and I loved the story for its freshness and believability – it was a great introduction for my girls into (what seems to me) “real” South Africa, rather than a version you might find preserved in an open air museum (although it would be very interesting to hear what any South African readers have to say about the themes in this book). This story set in modern South Africa would be the perfect read before holidaying there – a great way to start thinking about the people behind the trinkets we might bring back from visiting there.
Inspired by this gentle book I ordered a selection of African beads and buttons from The African Fabric Shop – a favourite place of mine if a non-book treat is in order. M used these beads to create two pieces of art – one for her room, and one for J’s room. We used some embroidery hoops we’d picked up in a charity shop, a large needle and some embroidery thread and then M set about designing her African villages and sewing them in place.
These pieces have turned out beautifully, even if I say so myself!
Some South African music to dance to!
BLK JKS – a rather unusual South African band who are performing in the World Cup Kick-Off Concert
The Click Song by Myriam Makeba
Mbube by Solomon Linda’s Original Evening Birds and the better known version The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens
Ace Blues by Spokes Mashiyane
Dubula Mfanandini by Manhattan Brothers
Amezemula by Mahotella Queens
Africa Make Some Noise! The Story of Modern African Music – a programme on the BBC’s Radio 1 all about modern African music featuring sounds from across the continent. Only available to listen to again until Monday 14th June (and possibly only in the UK)
Papier mâché African Masks from the excellent blog Art for Small Hands
South African Kids’ songs from Mama Lisa, including several in languages other than English
Our own (slightly) quieter version of a vuvuzela – using the hooter part from a party hooter attached to a simple cone made from paper
These fun articulated puppets from Se7en, guestposting over at The Crafty Crow
Some more (South) African crafts and activities we’d like to get up to over the next month:
As to that research I mentioned aboveabout trying to find out more about South African picture books, here are the various websites I used:
100 Representative South African Books for Children and Young People 2007 (mentioned in my post last week)
“The Best of South African Picture Books” (mentioned in my post last week)
Information about Niki Daly – perhaps South Africa’s best known author and illustrator of children’s books. Niki Daly is the husband of Judly Daly, the illustrator of The Dove
Children’s Literature Research Unit at the University of South Africa
The Vivian Wilkes Award for children’s book illustrations – this award rewards the illustrator of “an outstanding illustrated South African children’s book”.
A list of South African Children’s Book Awards
Children’s books from the Africa Book Centre – a UK based bookshop specialising in books and music from and about the continent of Africa. The Africa Book Centre ship worldwide.
A selection of book from/about South Africa (and other African countries) from Kids around the world
A virtual exhibition, “Books for Africa, Books from Africa”, put together by the International Board on Books for Young Peoply (IBBY) – not limited to book from/about South Africa, but very useful for finding books published (originally) in Africa
IBBY South Africa
South Africa Childrens Literature Lesson Plans from Shirley’s preschool activities
Se7en South African Book Resources for Kids… – including non-fiction, poetry and folktales.
A Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast interview with Mina Javaherbin about her debut picture book title, Goal! which tells the story of a group of friends in a poor South African township who revel in a game of football.
A list of recommended South African children’s literature from Footprints on our land (South African Homeschool Curriculum)
Have you got any books from or about South Africa that you and your family love and that we should look out for?
Once again I’m linking up with stART at A Mommy’s Adventures – I do hope you have the time to head on over there and see what other stories + art families have been up to!