White Ravens: South Africa

29 books      

South Africa (English) - 1994 - 78
Hartmann, Wendy (text)
Daly, Niki (illus.)
Een Winderige Aand
(All the magic in the world)
Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau, 1993. [24] p.
ISBN 0-7981-3086-5 (Engl. ed. 0-86486- 248-2)
(Also available from Dutton Publishers, USA, and Bodley Head, GB)
Magic - Odd-Job Man - Play
Lena is the smallest and clumsiest of five children who like to play together and occasionally visit old Joseph, the local odd-job man who has a tin box of scraps and treasures. One evening he helps them discover that magic comes from within, from what you make of the things you have or are given. The simple tale is told also through the illustrations done in bright, natural colors which delightfully depict the rural setting, their childlike playfulness and. in particular, Lena's eager, joyful facial expressions. The black South African setting is well-captured, the story international. (3-6)

South Africa (English) - 1994 - 79
Bodenstein, Christel (compile)
Bodenstein, Hans (compile)
Linda, Rode (compile)
Mphahlele, Es'kia (foreward)
Stories South of the Sun. 28 South African Read-Aloud Stories.
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1993. 96 p. With illustrations
ISBN 0-624-02616-7 (Afrikaans ed. 0-624-03083-0)
Everyday life - School - Family - Adventure - Folktales/Africa
Compiled by two experienced educators and an award-winning compiler of other anthologies and tested in schools, this book represents today's multi-cultural and multi-faceted South African society in as much as the authors, both newcomers and renown children's writers, chose their own language of expression and focus on contemporary, familiar situations and persons - a hard week at school, a dispute of honor at home, fantasy encounters extraterrestials or dragons, animal fables and traditional African folk- tales. Eleven talented illustrators have contributed striking very colorful illustrations on most pages. The book offers a rich variety of well-written tales that will have wide appeal to readers. (5-10)
(This collection is also available in Africaans under the title Stories suid van die ion: 28 voorleesstories and in Tswana.)

South Africa (English) - 1994 - 80
Owen, Phyllis (text)
Seterfeld, Adrian (illus.)
The Dala Tree
Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 1993. 44 p.
ISBN 0-7981-3090-3
School - Bully - Challenge - Tree-climbing
To strengthen his health, the city boy, Gideon, is spending several months with his grandparents on their farm in the Northern Cape. As a newcomer and outsider at school, he is bullied by Daniel, the undisputed leader of the boys in his class, until he decides to hold his ground and defend himself. On the spur of the moment he challenges Daniel to a duel: to climb the 18 meter- high Dala Tree in the school courtyard. After successfully mastering his fears in his dangerous climb, the book's well-written, tension-filled climax. Gideon is ready to put out his hand in friendship to his classmates. even Daniel. The author's very readable and believable description of Daniel's efforts to come to terms with fellow pupils, teacher and grandparents will strike a chord with many readers. (8-10)

South Africa (English) - 1995 - 53
Randall, Isobel (text)
Sothoane, Zacharia (illus.)
Busisiwe's bicycle
Mazini: Macmillan Boleswa Publishers, 1993. 30 p.
ISBN 0-333-59103-8
Africa/Rural life – Grandparent/Grandchild – Dream/Bicycle – Child/Money
A young Black girl's dream of owning her own bicycle seems unattainable until, with the help of her grandfather, she earns money by selling vegetables from her own garden. When her little brother needs to be hospitalized, she instead gives this money to her grandparents. Again raising money with handmade toys to be sold in the big city, the dream is finally fulfilled after a long wait. The ambitious black-and-white pencil sketches on each page of text realistically depict the steppe-like rural landscape and the very simple life-style of the farming family in a manner which may appeal to the child's eye more than the eye of the professional art critic. This is an authentic story of rural Africa which draws on everyday life rather than on folk-tales or social problems. (7+) ☆ ☼

South Africa (English) - 1995 - 54
Robson, Jenny
Mellow Yellow
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1994. 138 p.
ISBN 0-624-03297-3
Cape Town/Street life - Orphan - Reading - Friendship - Survival
For several years the abandoned child and runaway. Mess (nicknamed Mellow Yellow), has been fending for himself in the streets of Cape Town. He survives through his association with a gang of street kids, whose teenaged leader, Space Gun, who sets down strict rules that give order to their lives. Mess's dream, his life-motivation, is to learn to read in order to understand the piece of green paper, the key to his real identity, which he wears hidden in a tin box around his neck. One day on a whim he asks a posh schoolboy, Henry, at the train station to teach him to read and through their ensuing friendship ultimately finds his grandfather. Henry's encounter with Mess and the street gang brings about dramatic changes in each of their lives and leads to a happy end in this fast-paced, compelling novel. (12+) ☆

South Africa (English) - 1996 - 25
Bransby, Lawrence
The Boy Who Counted to a Million
Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 1995. 109 p.
ISBN 0-7981-3452-6
Self-identity - Grandfather/Grandson -
World War I/Memories - Racial violence This story is set in modern day South Africa during the period of high racial turbulence, which also influence relations between the members of a white middle-class family. Matthew is a thoroughly normal boy who enjoys comics and war games, but his experiences of violence with their black neighbors and his great-grandfather's vivid, guiltily repressed memories as a warfront soldier help him see that there is no glamour in real fighting. Bransby develops this compassionate story of a boy's search for meaning in a well-developed plot. (12+)

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 26
Deall, Alanna (text/illus.)
Kensani's Kite
Sandton: Mike Jacklin/Knowledge Unlimited, 1995. [26] p.
ISBN 1-86839-374-7
Old Man/Boy - Friendship - Kite
An old man sits under a tree carving animal figures, peaceful but lonely. Then a little boy suddenly comes out of nowhere, flying a plastic bag as a kite. The two of them make it into a real kite and spend a mutually enjoyable day together. The gentle, poetic narrative is accompanied by pen-and-watercolor drawings which capture the character of the protagonists, their feelings and their immediate surroundings. The book is designed in an very attractive style. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 27
King, Georgiana (text)
Eloff, Friedel (illus.)
Zolani Goes to Yeoville
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1995. 48 p.
ISBN 0-624-03394-5
Father/Son - Friendship
When Zolani recovers slowly from a debilitating bout of measles, his mother decides that a change of setting would help him and decides to invest all her savings - instead of buying a cow - in making a visit to the father who works in faraway Johannesburg. Their weeks long stay there as subletters in the home of a white family makes an interesting experience for the boy used to living in a remote rural district. The peaceable relations between Zolani's family and their temporary hosts is portrayed without any moralizing overtone, and the everyday pleasures and misunderstandings make interesting reading. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 28
Wyk, Chris van (text)
Callinicos, Luli (text)
Oliver Tambo
Cape Town: Maskew Miller/Longman, 1994. 66 p.
(They Fought for Freedom)
ISBN 0-636-01984-5
Tambo, Oliver/Biography - African National Congress - South Africa/Politics
This series of biographies presents southern African leaders who have been struggling for freedom and justice in this century. Short readable chapters with fictionalized conversations and meetings make these books lively and inspiring. Illustrated with photos and supplemented with maps and an appendix of vocabulary, project activities and further reading, the series can also be used in classrooms. (10+)

South Africa (English) - 1997 - 28
Carvalho, Carlos (text/illus.)
Zizi & !Xau. The eagle calls
Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 1996. 64 p.
ISBN 0-7981-3637-5
Africa/History - Quest - Friendship - Gold - Adventure
This precisely drawn, long narrative comic book is a historical adventure story set in the pre-colonial days at the center of Great Zimbabwe. Two boys from different tribes with different languages meet and become loyal friends while travelling alone away from their tribal homes. They endure a period of humane captivity in another gold-mining tribe which is then attacked by war-mongers (aided by a lone rifle-carrying white man), and help to save the tribal treasure. The protagonists are appealing and the plot is rich in background detail. An appendix supplies a map and a description of things used in the story. There is already a sequel available. (8+)

South Africa (English) - 1997 - 29
D'Arcy, M. Cassiem
Rage of the sea wind
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1996. 113 p.
ISBN 0-624-03467-4
Death - Fishing - Poverty
After his father's death, the 13-year-old Muslim boy Amien becomes head of the family and struggles to help his mother support all three children in the impoverished fishing village. Their trekfishermen friends rally to their defense when Amien's rich uncle demands that they hand over the coveted fishing license and a small chest of family heirlooms from the East Indies. In spite of the uncle's wily ways and midnight raid, a chance turn of events lets Amien learn the monetary value of their treasures, which will help the children to obtain training for better jobs. This highly suspenseful tale of adventure, courage, family loyalty and ambition is told in a rich narrative by a South African-born medical practitioner. A glossary of Muslim and fishing-related terms is included. (12+)

South Africa (English) - 1997 - 30
Merwe, Louise van der (text)
Grimsdell, Jeremy (illus.)
Heroes and Lionhearts
Durban: Gecko Books, 1996. 54 p.
ISBN 1-875011-10-2
Heroes - Animal/Man
These twelve heart-warming stories set in modernday South Africa feature animals and humans who have risked their lives to save others, sometimes at terrible costs. The author, a journalist and animal rights campaigner, uses a clear style mixing factual background detail and the first-hand dialogs and commentary of those involved to present the gripping events in an narrative. (8+) ☼

South Africa (English) - 1997 - 31
Stewart, Dianne (text)
Daly, Jude (illus.)
The gift of the sun
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1996. [28] p.
(In coproduction with Frances Lincoln, London)
ISBN 0-624-03452-6
Africa/Folktale - Husband/Wife - Laziness - Farm
Thulani, a lazy farmer who has one cow but yearns only to bask in the sun, tries in turn a number of different money-making schemes by selling his cow for a goat, his goat for a sheep, his sheep for geese, and his geese for sunflower seeds. His longsuffering wife nearly dispairs, until she finds that the sunflower seeds cause her chickens to lay more eggs. With their additional income from the eggs, Thulani begins to enjoy his new occupation of buying and trading. The warmly colored, abstractnaive pictures are an excellent complement to the entertaining tale. (5+)

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1998 - 21
Beake, Lesley
(<Proper name>)
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1997. 132 p.
ISBN 0-624-03566-2
Death - Grief - Family violence - Friendship - Suicide attempt - South Africa/History 1994 - Race relations - Alzheimer's disease
After his beloved stepfather is victim of a random street murder, Jakey and his mother move to a middle-class neighborhood where his mother has become the housekeeper of an older widow who is beginning to suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Still in weak health from his grief, Jakey takes lessons at home from this warm-hearted, independent woman. And Jakey soon becomes friends with the lonely white boy next door, who is being mishandled by his unhappy father, and helps Hendrik run away from home.When this fails, Jakey's sensitivity helps to prevent Hendrik's suicide.This is a realistic story about tension, grief and unhappiness in several families, but there is also an undercurrent of hopefulness and joy at the personal and political level. The day of the first free elections in 1994 is a significant event in the narrative. Beake weaves a well-balanced story with several narrative threads and an interesting array of characters caught up in a rapidly changing society. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1998 - 22
Pinnock, Patricia Schonstein
Saturday in Africa. Living history through poetry
Cape Town: African Sun Press, 1996. 70 p.
ISBN 1-874915-05-9
Poetry - South Africa/History - Everyday life
This collection of poems written in various styles and meters draws upon many aspects of life and memories in South Africa, focussing especially on the joyful anticipation of the new era beginning under Nelson Mandela's presidency. Many poems are accompanied by well-chosen, expressive blackand- white photographs taken from numerous sources. Unusual words and historical contexts are explained in endnotes. This is a very attractively produced volume which will enrich library collections. (10+)

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1998 - 23
Turkington, Nola (text)
Mathew, Gillian (illus.)
Matilda and Meggie
(<Proper names>)
Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 1997. 23 p.
ISBN 0-7981-3514-X
School project - Role play - Egg - Parent/Child - Responsibility
Matilda's fourth grade class end-of-year project is learning how to take responsibility by caring for an egg for one week. Unlike many of her classmates, Matilda is quite fastidious, and learns quite a bit about the burdens of „child-rearing", but in a surprise turn of events she uses the egg to foil a supposed burglar. The humorous, tale in paperback format is complemented with very attractively stylized black-and-white pen-andwash illustrations. (7+) ☼

South Africa (English) - 1999 - 21
Camp, Lindsay (text)
Coplans, Peta (illus.)
Hippo's River Café
Cape Town/London: Tafelberg/Andersen Press, 1998. [26] p.
ISBN 0-624-03691-X
Laughing - Friendship - Tolerance
Cheetah and Hippopotamus are best friends and love to laugh over Cheetah's corny jokes. But Cheetah, who is rather vain and lazy, has no interest in helping Hippopotamus build his riverside café and sulks away while Hippopotamus works himself to exhaustion. When the café nearly fails due to Hippopotamus' bad temper, they find the perfect solution for a joint venture. The naive, stylized pencil and watercolor illustrations for this animal fantasy tale capture the dynamic quality of the text. Camp is an advertising copywriter in England and Coplans an international illustrator living in Cape Town. (4+)

South Africa (English) - 1999 - 22
Grobler, Mari (text)
Pulles, Elizabeth (illus.)
Lulama's magic blanket
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1997. [30] p.
ISBN 0-624-03592-1
Counting - Colors - Imagination - Blanket
Lulama has a patchwork blanket that her mother made for her from garmets once worn by members of her family. When she plays with it outside, she and the blanket can become anything she imagines. The dynamic, colorful scenes designed partly with torn tissue paper show Lulama dancing and whirling while pretending to be a tortoise, a snake, a teacher, a preacher or a housewife. When she lays down for her afternoon nap, the magical blanket also becomes a counting scheme, helping her drift off to sleep. This is a delightful and imaginative read-aloud story. It has also been published in Xhosa, Zulu, and Afrikaans. (3+)

South Africa (English) - 1999 - 23
Mcimeli, R.F.
Ingqaka kaMaQhudeni
(Maqhudeni's cream)
Cape Town: Maskew Miller, 1993. 153 p.
ISBN 0-636-01902-0
Xhosa/Folklore - Oral tradition - Legends - Taboo
This is a collection of folktales, myths, legends, idioms, proverbs and poetry the reflect the rich heritage of the Xhosa oral tradition. They include stories told by the fireside, examples of the eloquence of the Xhosa language, explanations of taboo words for different groups of people, and cultural beliefs related to animals and insects. The elements of folk wisdom and morality are still considered relevant for the modern generation. (12+) ☆

South Africa (English) - 1999 - 235
Vos, Philip de (text)
Grobler, Piet (illus.)
Karnaval van die diere.
(Carnival of the animals)
Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau, 1998. 32 p.
ISBN 0-7981-3822-x
Music - Animals
Very original and sparkling short sketches based on the famous piece of music »Carnival of the Animals« of Camille Saint-Saëns. The lion, the cock, the hinny, the turtle, and many more animals, but also the nasty piano player and fossils are briefly typified. Finally, they all come together in the big finale. The artist Piet Grobler made a splendid illustration for every animal (and of course, also for the nasty pianist), where he freely handles the interpretations of the text. In all respects, the book is a very successful picture art book, that will fascinate readers and viewers of all ages. (8+)

South Africa (English) - 2000 - 24
Brandt, Marianna (text)
Riet, Samantha van (illus.)
Bristow-Bovey, Darrel (transl.)
The mealie-cob doll
(Afrikaans orig. title: Die mieliestronkpop)
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1998. 36 p.
ISBN 0-624-03690-1
Birthday present - Wish - Disappointment - Art competition
Matilda's mother has not been selling enough hot corn-on-the-cob (mealies) at their street stall to be able to buy the frilly blue dress Matilda dreams of for her birthday. Instead, her grandmother sews her a very charming doll using an old corn cob that a customer presented to Matilda with the words »May it bring you happiness«. At school Matilda draws a striking portrait of her new doll - despite the scorn of some classmates - and wins first-prize in the art competition. With the considerable prize money she can buy the dress and gifts for others. This well-plotted and attractively illustrated tale depicts the universal feelings and challenges of childhood - desire, jealousy, rivalry and contentment. It is produced in a sturdy paperback edition. (8+)

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 2003 - 24
Gordon, Marguerite (ed.)
Madiba magic : Nelson Mandela’s favourite stories for children
Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2002. 140 p.
ISBN 0-624-04073-9
Africa – Folktale – Anthology
This beautifully produced anthology contains 32 stories from South Africa and other African countries. A few of the tales are new stories written in the style of traditional folktales, while most of them are ancient folktales which have undergone several changes through the centuries and are presented here either in their orally transmitted form or as retellings by various authors. Each of the magical short tales is accompanied by a magnificent full-page illustration, painted by well-known children’s book artists as well as by some talented new illustrators, and by one or two beautiful small black-and-white vignettes created by Teresa Williams. A short one-sentence-introduction preceding each tale and an appendix at the back of the book give additional information about the importance of the tale’s theme or protagonist and its popularity and about the tales’ illustrators and authors or retellers. This folktale treasure chest will delight young and old readers alike. (4+) ☆ ☼

South Africa (Afrikaans) - 2003 - 226
Daly, Niki (text/illus.)
Rode, Linda (transl.)
Yebo, Jamela!
(What’s cooking, Jamela?)
Kaapstad : Tafelberg, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 0-624-03991-9
Christmas – Chicken
Together with her mother, Jamela buys a chicken for Christmas. However, Jamela gets attached to the chicken, which she has named »Kersfees« (Christmas). When Jamela comes home from the Christmas play, a woman has come to her house to slaughter the chicken. Jamela runs away with the chicken. When her mother finds them, Jamela succeeds to convince her to prepare something else for the feast. This touching story is illustrated with many details giving an extra dimension to the text. The characters are pictured very lifelike and the whole book represents very well the way how Christmas is prepared and celebrated in South Africa. (5+)

South Africa (English) - 2004 - 23
Schermbrucker, Reviva (text/illus.)
Conradie, Wayne (photogr.)
They were wrong!
Lansdowne : Early Learning Resource Unit, 2003. [24] p.
(Mielie books)
ISBN 1-875069-43-7
South Africa – Child – Everyday life – Prejudice – Multicultural society
This small picture book is published by the Antibias Project of ELRU – the Early Learning Rescource Unit, a small organisation which aims at improving the lives of South African children. It addresses common prejudices against foreign people and unfamiliar situations in an amusing child-friendly way. In a mixture of brightly-coloured bold paintings expressing the unfounded speculations and colour-photographs depicting actual real-life scenes, the author shows how a young boy is not intimidated by the ridiculous warnings from some of his friends but rather sets out to discover the truth for himself. This committed booklet encourages its readers to be openminded and think critically. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 2004 - 24
Slingsby, Peter
Jedro’s bane
Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2002. 159 p.
ISBN 0-624-03578-6
Grandfather – Quarrel – Reconciliation – Friendship – Colonialism – Slavery – Rebellion – Freedom – South Africa/1900
When Jedro is punished for getting into a fight with the class bully and sent to stay a few days at his granddad’s place in the countryside, the boy is prepared for a dead-boring weekend. How was he to know that the old man would suddenly conjure up an exciting tale that was to have a profound impact on Jedro’s life? Embedded in a moving frame story, the author offers young readers the gripping account of the life of a courageous black boy who decides to fight against slavery and unjust laws passed by the white government in 19century South Africa. Narrated in a direct and engaging style, the tale about Koot’s rebellion and his struggle against three banes prophesied to him by an old medicine woman immediately captivates the (fictional and real-life) audience. At the end, children will reluctantly surface from an enthralling read that also offers some insight into the life of black people in South Africa a century ago, their ancient culture, and the power of storytelling. (12+) ☆

South Africa (English) - 2005 - 22
Hendriks, Maria (text)
Grobler, Piet (illus.)
Makwelane and the crocodile
Cape Town [et al.] : Human & Rousseau, 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 0-7981-4462-9
(Afrikaans edition: »Makwelane en die krokodil«) Girl – Grandmother – Love – Visit – Crocodile – Danger – Trick
This picture book follows the life of little Makwelane who loves singing and playing her musical instrument, a makwelane. One day, she proudly sets off alone along the river to visit her beloved grandmother Gogo. Although the cheerful little black girl is so thrilled about the visit that she almost forgets her parents’ warnings about the sly old crocodile, she cleverly manages to save Gogo and herself from being devoured by the predator just in time, thanks to her instrument. The atmosphere of this short folk tale-like story is beautifully expressed in the bright illustrations by award-winning artist Piet Grobler. He employs rich colours and adds several collage elements to create lively pictures brimming with witty details. (4+)

South Africa (Afrikaans/English/IsiNdebele/IsiXhosa/IsiZulu/ Sepedi/Sesotho/Setswana/SiSwati/Tshivenda/Xitsonga) - 2005 - 231
Various (illus.)
The rights of a child : in Afrikaans, English, IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, SiSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga
Cape Town : Kwela Books [et al.], 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 0-7957-0162-4
Children’s rights
Forty-five years ago, the United Nations proclaimed the universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Nevertheless, many people still don’t know exactly what these rights are. This unique picture book presents the ten principles of the declaration in the eleven official languages of South Africa from Afrikaans to Xitsonga. On the lefthand side of every double page, a full-page illustration depicts one particular principle, the text of which is then given in all the eleven languages in coloured boxes on the right-hand side. This outstanding book can be used in schools all over the world to discuss the basic needs of children. In addition, it is also a kaleidoscope of some of the best illustrators of (South) Africa. (7+) ☆

South Africa (English) - 2006 - 24
Walton, Ann (text)
Hinrichsen, Natalie (illus.)
Tell the moon
Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2005. [30] p.
ISBN 0-624-03968-4
(parallel ed. publ. in Afrikaans: Roep die maan; ISBN 0-624-03989-7)
Farm Man – Birds – Respect for nature – Happiness
One day, Ben decides to leave the city, move to the mountains, and start a new life in a little house built from clay and reeds. As he prepares the ground for gardening, he takes care not to disturb three pale pink Francolin eggs and to leave an ancient tree, which is the home of many birds, standing in his fields. In return for his kindness, the birds resolve to help Ben during harvest time. This beautiful book with its striking, colourful double-page illustrations, offers an interesting look into the South-African flora and fauna. The fairytale-like story builds up to a climax, when Ben and the Francolin, as the bird representative, both make a promise to the moon that they will try to live together in peace, and respect and help each other. (3+)

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 2007 - 23
Magona, Sindiwe (text)
Bouma, Paddy (illus.)
The best meal ever!
Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2006. [32] p.
ISBN 0-624-04254-5
(parallel Xhosa ed.: Esona-sona sidlo!) Sister – Siblings – Hunger – Imagination – Hope
Night is falling, and Siziwe’s four little siblings are terribly hungry. When Mama left to look after their ill grandfather in a distant village, she asked her eldest daughter to take care of her little monsters. But what is Siziwe to do without so much as a morsel of food in the cupboards. Shall she send the young ones to bed disheartened and desperate? Putting on a bright smile, the girl quickly lights a fire, merrily stirs a big pot of water, and keeps her brothers and sisters so busy with laying the table, brushing their teeth, and changing into their pyjamas that they eventually drop off into the land of dreams with the filling smell of an imaginary »soup of hope« in their nostrils. This heart-warming tale about the power of hope narrated in an easy-flowing voice is translated into tender watercolour illustrations. They perfectly capture the story’s changes of mood from frightened and grumpy to hopeful and satisfied. (5+)