"From a young age, I learned to always look on the bright side and count my blessings no matter how little they were. It has changed the way I see life."
"When I had nieces and nephews, I was always intentional about teaching them these lessons, and when I had children of my own, I wanted to pass these beautiful lessons to them," shared Winnie Marutle Joseph, a 36-year-old mom of two who wrote the children's book Naledi's World of Wonder: Thankfulness.
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Joseph grew up in Dawn Park in the East Rand, Johannesburg. She is an attorney by profession and is currently on a short career break raising her two young daughters.
Joseph told us that she loved reading and writing from a young age, particularly, how books can transport you to different parts of the world and cultivate curiosity.
Her mom, who raised her as a single-parent, always taught her and her siblings that they should be thankful for everything they have. The food on the table, clothes on their back, the privilege of going to school, and having a family to love.
Inspired by her mom, Joseph wrote this book, the first of a series of four books to teach children about different values.
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What is this book about?
She uses the main character to teach the importance of thankfulness through her journey and the things she does.
"The book is about a curious and happy little 7-year-old African girl, Naledi, who has a parrot called Pooki as her best friend," said Joseph.
Naledi and Pooki live in a delightful village called Lenara, where Naledi shows us how she and the beautiful people in her town express gratitude each day.
"In this village, they start each day with a special ritual, singing, dancing and clapping at the start of each new day, a memorable and fun way to start the day!"
"Naledi invites us into her world and shows us the golden thread of thankfulness in action in her everyday life as she gets ready for a fun day at school and she shows us how to be thankful for everything, like our friends, family, food in our homes, and a new day's blessing."
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Children will relate to it
Joseph believes that children will relate to Naledi because she is an ordinary girl going through her day as they would and being thankful for it in the process.
"For me, thankfulness is everything. Understanding thankfulness and the positive effects it brings is powerful and can change our little ones' view of their world."
"The habit of thankfulness makes children happier and appreciate the things they sometimes take for granted. Thankfulness doesn't just feel good, it has tremendous effects on our well-being, minds, and hearts."
"Thankfulness also helps children see that something good can come out of difficult circumstances. Exposing children to this powerful habit from a young age is priceless," said Joseph.
Joseph recalled and shared that during some of the readings for this book, she was fortunate; listening to all the things her kids were thankful for, which was special to her.
"The story got them to pause and think of all the things they have in their lives that they are thankful for every day. This is the main goal of the book for me," she added.
The writing process and publishing
This author shared that her writing journey was enjoyable and it took less than a week to complete the book.
Joseph told us that the book is self-published by Bonani Contents, based in Cape Town. She also shared her struggles finding an illustrator who would bring to life her vision.
"I worked with a few illustrators. However, they couldn't bring to life the vision I wanted, so I found an illustrator online, his name is Ibrahim Yousef, and he is based in the United Arab Emirates," shared Joseph.
This book was published on 20 March 2022, and it is available online on Takealot and Amazon.
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