Creating magical monsters

2016-08-02 06:00
 Mbalentle Mnyatheu shows off her imaginary beasties.

Mbalentle Mnyatheu shows off her imaginary beasties.

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Award-winning author Lauren Beukes, best known for her books The Shining Girls and Broken Monsters, is just two months away from publishing her latest book.

But this book is very different from what her readers have come to expect from her, as she tackles a group of monsters of a very different kind. Funny things such as break-dancing dinosaurs, carrot-juice-slurping vampire bunnies or octodragon moose are just three of the beastly creatures readers can expect to meet in her latest literary escapade which delves into the land of Unbelievia.

In collaboration with Bostik, Lauren has created 20 of the weirdest and wildest creatures to star in the Bostik Book of Unbelievable Beasties.

The only thing missing from the book are the creatures themselves – and Lauren is joining forces with the children of Shine Literacy, as well as children across South Africa, to help bring her beasties to life.

On Wednesday 27 July, Grade 2s from the Shine Centre at Prestwich Street Primary School in Green Point were given the opportunity to create some weird and wonderful creatures for Beukes’s first children’s book.

Shine Literacy is a non-profit organisation that provides individualised support to Grade 2 and 3 children in 46 primary schools across the country during a session called “the Shine Literacy Hour”.

In these sessions some of South Africa’s most vulnerable children work with trained volunteers once or twice a week to strengthen their reading, writing and speaking skills.

“Imagination and creativity is very important in a curriculum for young readers and the Bostik Book of Unbelievable Beasties makes reading interactive and fun,” says Hanli van Aswegen, project co-ordinator at Shine.

The project is also open to children across South Africa and kids between the ages of six and 12 are invited to enter their masterpieces in various ways.

Competition entries close on Saturday 20 August and the draw will take place in September. The best beasties will be chosen to feature in Lauren’s book to be published and launched in October.

The featured illustrators will each receive a copy, signed by the author, to keep forever, and the rest of the books will be donated to Shine Centres country wide. The book will also be available as a free downloadable e-book from Parents can download an entry form from the Bostik website, read the rhyme describing one of the beasties, then let their child create their version of the creature. Entries can be scanned and emailed to to be eligible for the draw.V The competition closes on Saturday 20 August and the draw will take place in September. The best beasties will be chosen to feature in Lauren’s book to be published and launched in October.


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