South African stories that teach kids about race in a positive way

Reading to your child is an invaluable investment in their future.
Reading to your child is an invaluable investment in their future.

If you're finding it hard to find the right words to teach your kids about complex issues, it's often best to turn to stories. 

According to "storytelling is a unique way for students to develop an understanding, respect and appreciation for other cultures, and can promote a positive attitude to people from different lands, races and religions."

How wonderful then, to have a local online bookstore that aims to create a better, more inclusive reading culture by sharing beautiful local stories about the many cultures of South Africa? 

The five moms who founded Ethnikids are on a mission to "empower the African child by exposing them to diversity in the books they read" and strive to find "diverse material that more children can relate to and identify with". 

Here Khumo Tapfumaneyi, one of the organisation's co-founders, reviews two books that explore the topic of race in age-appropriate ways.

"The recommended ages here are only a guide. If you're reading to children, I believe all ages would enjoy these stories," she told us. 

Also see: The Parent24 STORYTIME hub! Find free resources for little readers here

Skin we are in

Skin we are in

Written by South African legendary children's book author Sindiwe Magona and American anthropologist Nina Jablonski, the story is about 5 young friends exploring and discussing the skin they are in.

It is blended with scientific explanations as to why we come in different shades, and at the same time dispels racist narratives. It's beautifully illustrated by award-winning illustrator Lynn Fellman to keep the children captivated, and the book is available in all 11 South African languages. 

This book is suitable for children aged 8 to 11 years old.

Also see: 50% of children have never read a book with their parents – here's why we need to encourage reading early on

How many ways can you say hello

How many ways can you say hello

Another South African classic that teaches children about our multiple cultures is How many ways can you say hello written by the talented Refiloe Moahloli.

It teaches children how to say hello in every language spoken here in a fun, rhyming way. It's the story of a little girl called Sara who discovers on her first day of school that there is more than one way to say hello. 

This book is suitable for children aged 4 to 7 years old.

Chat back:

Do you know of any children's books that talk about race in positive ways? 

Share your recommendations and we could publish them. 

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