A Winter Reading List fit for South African kids

(Mike Kemp/Getty Images)
(Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

Local online bookstore Ethnikids was founded by five moms set on empowering African children by making diverse reading materials easily accessible.

Here, one of the founding members Khumo Tapfumaneyi shares her top picks for SA kids during winter. 


Find free resources for little readers in our STORYTIME hub

Temperatures are dropping, and loadshedding and social distancing are the order of the day!

Those are conditions well-suited to curling up and occupying the little ones with a good book.

Some of the books we are excited to add to our reading list are 'Halala Job Maseko! A story collection of unsung South African Heroes spiced with a hint of local folklore' by Wendy Maartens, 'The Best Meal Ever!' by Sindiwe Magona and the newly-released colouring-in version of 'How Many Ways Can You Say Hello?' by Refiloe Moahloli.

Halala Job Maseko!

Book cover

Halala Job Maseko! is recommended for big children aged eight years to tweens.

Initially, the thought of reading a children's book that contains 'difficult' stories about the lives of heroes such as Sarah Baartman, Nkosi Johnson and Emilie Lehn who had been enslaved filled me with trepidation.

Wendy Maartens has treated their stories and those of 17 other great South Africans with dignity. The book is informative, written in story format and beautifully illustrated by Linki Brand. 

The Best Meal Ever!

Book cover

Another superb read is The Best Meal Ever! written by accomplished author Sindiwe Magona and illustrated by South African great Paddy Bouma.

The book has recently been added to the IBBY Honour List for its high quality of writing. It tells the story of siblings in Gugulethu whose parents are away at work and have been left in big sister Siziwe's care.

The children are hungry as supper-time draws near and there is nothing in the home to cook or eat. This is a beautiful story filled with hope, a sweet ending and can facilitate discussions about the socio-economic disparities that exist in our country.

How Many Ways Can You Say Hello?

Book cover

The last of our selection is How Many Ways Can You Say Hello? by Refiloe Moahloli and illustrated by Anja Stoeckigt.

This South African classic about Sara's first day of school and her discovery of the different home languages spoken has been converted into a book that children can read as well as colour.

It's recommended for children aged 4 to 8, or anyone who enjoys colouring-in really.

There's a brilliant company called Colour Me Kids that has recently launched crayons that come in all our beautiful skin tones that would make a great accompaniment to this book.

What stories do your kids love to read during winter? 

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