11 epic holiday reads for your kids and teens

By Jane Vorster
16 March 2017

“Mom, Dad, are we there yet?” Parents will be all too familiar with this question – usually delivered in an irritated whine about five minutes into the family road trip.

So why not distract them with a good book? Here’s our pick of titles that will bring an element of fun into your car and enrich your journey.


By Refiloe Moahloli


Eish, hayibo, sommer, aowa, shap shap . . . When Sara goes to a new school she can’t understand what the other kids are saying. Her teacher sets her some homework: to discover how many ways there are to say hello. 
Sara sets off in on a hot-air balloon adventure with her toy rabbit. On their way they make friends and learn how to say hello in all of South Africa’s 11 official languages. 
This beautifully illustrated book comes with a free CD of the story. It’s a great way to introduce young kids to our country’s different languages and cultures as you travel along its roads.


By Mwenye Hadithi


On the African plain, at the foot of a tree, a creature woke up and said, “What can I be?” When he’d fallen asleep a leopard cub has been playing in the branches of the Cotton Wool Tree releasing seed pods and a snowstorm of fluff. 
This delightful book will keep kids guessing right to the end about the identity of the “Fluffalump”. A great read for ages four to seven.


By Julia Richman

Two Pups

We’ve all heard of an army of ants and a pride of lions but did you know a group of giraffes is referred to as “a journey”? 
A dazzle of zebras, a shimmer of butterflies, a stand of flamingos, a crash of rhinos, a float of crocodiles, a cloud of bats, a prickle of porcupines and a mischief of mice . . . 
With its lively illustrations and fun rhymes, this book is a great way to teach young kids about animal collective nouns. 



Alison Green Books

Meet Wildebeest and Warthog, Spotted Hyena, Lappet-Faced Vulture and Marabou Stork. People call them “The Ugly Five” but instead of being offended by the title the motley crew team up and show that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
Yes, there’s a message – that it’s what’s inside that really counts – but in her trademark style Donaldson has great fun getting it across with clever rhymes and cheeky jokes. Kids in the four-to-seven age group will hang on every word. 


By Andy Lee 

Human & Rousseau 

In the gripping story a grumpy monster uses every trick in the book – threats, bribes and reverse psychology – in a desperate bid to persuade children not to turn the page. Of course this just makes kids even more curious to find out what it is he’s trying to keep from them.
With bright illustrations and the constant suggestion of impending disaster looming this book is bound to be a big hit – even with reluctant young readers. Read with the right tone it will grab kids’ attention and keep them entertained for quite a while. – Thulani Gqirana   


By Niki Daly


The South African author and illustrator introduces his resourceful and kind-hearted new heroine, Thoko, in this delightful collection, which is also available in Xhosa, Zulu and Afrikaans. In these heartwarming stories Thoko finds herself in some tricky situations – she discovers a neighbour is mistreating his dog; falls in love with a hat she sees in a shop but can’t afford to buy and finds a diamond ring which she then goes to great lengths to return to its rightful owner. 
As she resolves each issue she learns some important lessons about honesty, kindness, patience and being willing to take a stand in the face of wrongdoing. 
Each story is fun, easy to read and revolves around a little challenge with which many young readers in the six-to-eight age category will be able to identify. 


By Cressida Cowell


This new offering from the author of the smash hit How to Train Your Dragon series pits warriors against wizards, with some witches thrown in for good measure. When 13-year-old Xar, a wizard without magic, tries to prove himself by capturing a dreaded witch, he finds himself in a whole heap of trouble and has to team up with a kickass warrior princess named Wish to redeem himself. 
This reluctant collaboration between supposed enemies leads to lots of wry humour and explosive situations. Cowell’s lively black and white illustrations and tongue-in-cheek humour is bound to appeal to young readers. Perfect for kids in the eight-to-12 age group.


Carlton Books

Kids fighting in the back seat? Distract them with this gorgeous book. It makes use of augmented reality to allow kids to see bugs such as cockroaches, spiders and praying mantises up close. 
After reading incredible facts and statistics about each insect, children can go on an interactive bug safari, using an app on their parent’s phone to point and click at an icon in the book and bring the fascinating creepy-crawlies to life. They can make a Queen Alexandra birdwing butterfly fly around the room or watch the emperor scorpion in action. But nothing can beat the jaw-dropping freakiness of seeing a Goliath bird-eating tarantula in all its life-sized glory. Eek! 
Perfect for children three and upwards.
For young adults


By Julie Israel


It’s been 65 days since the accident that ripped Juniper’s world apart. The 16-year-old is struggling to come to terms with the loss of her big sister, Camilla. But when she discovers a break-up letter Camie wrote but never sent to a mystery suitor on the day of the accident, Juniper is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and identify her sister’s mystery love.
But then she loses something herself, a card that contains her own secret: a memory she can’t let anyone else find out. A breathtaking tale about love, loss, mistakes and memory.


By Jennifer E Smith


What if you gave your crush a lottery ticket for his birthday, and he won the jackpot of $141 million? Alice has been smitten with Teddy for the past three years but can money really buy love? 
This is a new offering from the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, which is being made into a movie and being hyped as “When Harry Met Sally for the younger generation”.


By Amy Wilson


It’s bad enough having a mother batty enough to name you owl and a father you’ve never met. Little wonder that when Owl starts noticing strange frost patterns developing on her skin she’s tempted to ignore them so she doesn’t draw unwanted attention to herself. But could her strange new powers be linked to her mysterious father?This is a sweet debut about family, responsibility and the beauty of the natural world.

Have you entered our Caltex competition?

This could be the easiest way to get cash for the holidays! Stand a chance to win R5 000 every week for the next three weeks – or win the R10 000 grand prize!

Simply make sure you fill up at Caltex to the value of R300 or more and keep your slip then head to the YOU website

 to enter.

The competition runs from 19 March until 16 April 2018. Click here to enter.

Find Love!