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Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

“Children are not colour-blind” – Mylo Freeman on racial diversity in children’s books

Mylo Freeman

The Dutch author Mylo Freeman, who gained recognition for her Princess Arabella-series, which features a black princess as main character, recently wrote a piece for The Guardian on how the struggle for diversity in children’s literature still has a long way to go:

I’m a black Dutch author and illustrator of picture books and I’d like to tell you something about my work. The idea for my main character Princess Arabella came from a story I heard about a little black girl who was offered the role of princess in a school play, which she declined, simply because she didn’t believe that a princess could be black. I decided then and there it was high time for a black princess to appear in a picture book! Once the book was finished I had to look for a publisher of course. After some research I thought Eenhoorn, a Belgian publisher, would be the best candidate. I wrapped all the illustrations carefully and sent them by mail to Belgium. After that it was just a matter of waiting for a response…

“It was a rainy day,” my publisher told me later. “I had just attended what was supposed to be a meeting to celebrate an organization that provides books for children who are having difficulties learning Dutch as a second language. They were mainly children from a Moroccan background”. The books my publisher brought to read to them didn’t relate to them at all. Frustrated and disappointed she returned to the office only to find my first manuscript and illustrations for Princess Arabella carefully wrapped at her desk!

This was 10 years ago and now there are 10 Arabella books published and more to come! Princess Arabella’s Birthday was very well received, won prizes and was translated into many languages. However when it came to selling the rights to the US things got complicated. “It’s her hair”, white American publishers whispered, embarrassed, “her hair looks uncombed, our audiences will be offended”. I was baffled, how could Arabella’s and her mum the queen’s hair be offensive to anyone? I modelled it after traditional African hairstyles after all?

This of course had everything to do with African American history. A history marked by slavery and where generations after still reflected the white dominant culture. However, there has been a trend going on for some time now for black women to have their own natural hairstyles. And it seems that women nowadays get to make a choice as how to wear their hair and not out of an imposed sense of social pressure.

Continue reading here.

Princess Arabella’s Birthday
‘Once upon a time, there was a little princess called Arabella. She lived in a big palace with her father, the King, and her mother, the Queen. It was nearly Arabella’s birthday. But what do you give a little princess who already has everything?’Ruby-encrusted roller skates, a golden bicycle, a stuffed mouse, a cuddly mouse, a tea set, a doll’s pram carriage? No, Princess Arabella wants something different for her birthday: an elephant.But will she get what she wants?

Princess Arabella Mixes Colours
Princess Arabella thinks her room is boring. So she decides she’s going to do something about that – all by herself. She mixes up some paint and in no time at all her room looks fabulous.The latest book about the popular little Princess Arabella, with fun information about mixing colours.

Princess Arabella's Birthday

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Princess Arabella Mixes Colours

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Join Kurt Egelhof for a Literary Tribute to Chris van Wyk, Curated by Ivan Vladislavic, at Kalk Bay Books

***PLEASE NOTE: This event has been postponed***

If you missed Kurt Egelhof’s performance of the late Chris van Wyk’s poetry and stories at this year’s Franschhoek Literary Festival, now is your chance to catch the show one more time.

Ouma Ruby's SecretShirley, Goodness & MercyDaar's 'n hoender wat 'n eier nie kan lêLong Walk to FreedomShirley Goodness and Mercy

Egelhof will read from a selection of Van Wyk’s poetry, memoirs and letters, curated by his good friend Ivan Vladislavić.

The event will take place at Kalk Bay Books on Tuesday, 21 July, at 6 for 6:30 PM. Tickets cost R80 per person and booking is essential.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

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Join Khaya Dlanga, Rebecca Davis, Songezo Zibi and Many More at the 2015 South African Book Fair

Pan Macmillan is excited to spend three days with our loyal readers at this year’s South African Book Fair. The festivities will start on Friday, 31 July, and will run until Saturday, 2 August.

Authors you can look forward to meeting are Khaya Dlanga (To Quote Myself); Greg Mills (How South Africa Works: And Must Do Better); Rebecca Davis (Best White and Other Anxious Delusions); Songezo Zibi (Raising the Bar: Hope and Renewal in South Africa); Mosibudi Mangena (Triumphs and Heartaches: A Courageous Journey by South African Patriots); Craig Higginson (The Dream House) and Victor Kgomoeswana (Africa Is Open For Business).

Children can look forward to The Gruffalo who will be popping in to the fair to say hello, and Wally who will be hanging around waiting for someone to spot him. Alan Glass (Oliver’s Outline) and David Melling (Hugless Douglas Goes to Little School) will also be there to entertain the younger crowd.

For more information on when your favourite authors will make an appearance, view the full programme:


To Quote MyselfHow South Africa WorksBest White and Other Anxious DelusionsRaising the BarTriumphs and HeartachesThe Dream HouseAfrica Is Open For BusinessOliver’s OutlineHugless Douglas Goes to Little SchoolThe Gruffalo

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Long Walk to Freedom to be Broadcast in 11 Languages to Children Across the Country

Long Walk to FreedomIn celebration of Mandela Day, Pan Macmillan has donated 7 000 copies of Long Walk to Freedom, rewritten for children by the late Chris van Wyk and illustrated by Paddy Bouma, to Nal’ibali.

Nal’ibali is a campaign that hopes to embed a culture of literacy in South Africa by inspiring children to read for enjoyment, and works with a range of media partners.

This week, radio stations partnered with the organisation will be broadcasting the story on air. It has been made available in all 11 official languages in order to make the story accessible to as many children as possible.

The reading-for-enjoyment campaign will distribute copies of the book to its reading clubs, and has invited Early Childhood Development Centres, Children’s NGOs, schools and literacy organisations to apply for free packs of books.

Press Release

The Nal’ibali national reading-for-enjoyment campaign has joined forces with publisher Pan Macmillan to inspire even more children with the picture book version of Nelson Mandela’s bestselling autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom. Abridged by the late award-winning author Chris van Wyk, the book brings Madiba to life for a younger generation – from his childhood days as a young village boy to his campaign for freedom across the world. In the week leading up to Mandela Day, the partners will be sharing the story on air together with participating radio stations and distributing copies of the book across Nal’ibali’s network of more than 300 reading clubs.

“Storytelling is one of the greatest tools we have. Not only does it allow us to build connections with each other by teaching important qualities, such as empathy and tolerance, but hearing other people’s stories can help us to shape our own life story,” comments Carole Bloch, the Director of PRAESA (the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa), which is driving the Nal’ibali campaign.

“Sharing Madiba’s story is a wonderful way to encourage children to emulate the kind of qualities that Mandela and his generation of leaders stood for,” adds Smangele Mathebula, Nal’ibali Campaign Driver.

Through a generous donation of 7 000 copies of the book from Pan Macmillan, Nal’ibali reading clubs will each receive copies for use in their sessions. Early Childhood Development Centres, Children’s NGOs, schools and literacy organisations will also be invited to apply for packs of the books, which the campaign will send to them free of charge.

And, while the books are in English, to extend the story’s reach, it has also been made available by the publisher to be read on air by radio stations in all 11 official languages. Stations sharing the story include national broadcasters, SAfm, Lotus FM and Radio 2000, as well as provincial and community stations Talk Radio 702, 567 Cape Talk, Umhlobo Wenene, Capricorn FM, Bush Radio, CCFM, Mosupatsela FM Stereo, Energy FM, Mozolo FM 98.2, Unisa Radio, Central University of Technology (CUT) FM, Radio Khwezi, IFM 102.2, Mdantsane FM 89.5, Link FM, TruFM, Ligwalagwala FM, Thobela FM, Motsweding FM and Phalaphala FM.

“Pan Macmillan is delighted to be able to share one of South Africa’s most important stories with so many children. We hope that they will read, share and enjoy the book but most of all, be inspired by Mandela’s remarkable life story, so masterfully adapted for children by Chris van Wyk and brought to life with Paddy Bouma’s illustrations,” remarks Terry Morris, Managing Director of Pan Macmillan South Africa.

And, to further ensure the story is given meaning and relevance to the young audience, Nal’ibali Literacy Mentors in six different provinces will be hosting special Mandela Day activities linked to the book. By reflecting on Mandela’s life, his values and what he stood for, reading club members and invited guests from the community will be asked to think about who their special ‘Mandela’ is and how they can be like a Mandela figure to someone else.

For more information about the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, visit, or find us on Facebook and Twitter: nalibaliSA. Nal’ibali is driven by PRAESA – the 2015 laureate of the Astrid Lindgren Award, the world’s largest award for children’s literature and reading promotion.


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Pan Macmillan Remembers Chris van Wyk

Chris van WykIt is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Chris van Wyk, the much-loved South African poet and writer, who passed away on Friday evening.

Staff at Pan Macmillan have had the pleasure and privilege of working with Chris since 2004 when we published his memoir Shirley, Goodness & Mercy. The warmth and humour of his childhood memories merely touched the essence of this larger-than-life man who filled our office with his laughter and his wit. It has been a joy working with Chris and getting to know him and his family.

Shirley, Goodness & MercyOuma Ruby's SecretEggs to Lay, Chickens to HatchLong Walk to Freedom

His children’s book Ouma Ruby’s Secret, published in 2006 in all official languages, emphasised the importance of literacy. Chris was a frequent visitor to schools around the country where he enthralled children and teachers alike with his stories and his message of the value of reading.

Eggs to Lay, Chickens to Hatch, published in 2010, told further tales of Chris’s childhood and received a glowing and warm reception from media and readers alike.

The children’s edition of Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom was published in 2010. This work was a labour of love for Chris who carefully distilled the essence of Mandela’s epic life story for a younger audience.

Chris showed us how to laugh at life’s eccentricities and reminded us that shared stories build connection and community. Chris was always at pains to express the humour and also the sadness of life through his stories and was determined from an early age to become a writer. His dedication to his craft and his activism continued from his early days at The South African Committee for Higher Education (SACHED), as the editor of the Ravan Press literary journal Staffrider and as a full-time writer all the while continuing to publish his works and speak to readers around the country.

We will miss him enormously.

Our thoughts are with his wife Kathy, Kevin and Karl and the extended family at this sad time.

From all at Pan Macmillan South Africa

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Come Listen to Judy Moody’s Mini-Mysteries by Megan McDonald at The Book Lounge

Judy Moody's Mini-Mysteries and Other Sneaky Stuff for Super-SleuthsPan Macmillan and The Book Lounge are pleased to invite you to the launch of Judy Moody’s Mini-Mysteries and Other Sneaky Stuff for Super-Sleuths by Megan McDonald with illustrations by Peter H Reynolds.

Bring your children to the reading of the book on Saturday 23 August at 2:30 PM.

Don’t miss it!

Event Details

Book Details

  • Judy Moody’s Mini-Mysteries and Other Sneaky Stuff for Super-Sleuths by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H Reynolds
    EAN: 9780763659417
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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Download Niki Daly’s Next Stop, Zanzibar Road! Worksheets for Educational Fun

Next Stop, Zanzibar Road!Niki Daly has created two worksheets with fun activities to accompany his book, Next Stop, Zanzibar Road!.

The first consists of a number of word games that children can play using the book, which will help them practice their rhyming skills as well as develop their vocabulary. The second shows them how to make a shopping bag like the one Mama Jumbo Humba uses in the story:

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Pan Macmillan Authors at the 2012 Open Book Festival (20 – 24 September)

The Stranger's ChildThe Landscape PainterA Bantu in My BathroomWhen the Sea is Rising Red
Matilda's CatSarah HouseAbundanceNext Stop, Zanzibar Road!Entanglement

Pan Macmillan will be participating in this year’s Open Book Festival, which takes place from 20-24 September in Cape Town’s CBD. Pan Macmillan authors taking part include Alan Hollinghurst, Cat Hellisen, Craig Higginson, Emily Gravett, Eusebius McKaiser, Ifeanyi Ajaegbo, Marlene van der Westhuizen, Niki Daly and Steven Boykey Sidley.

Thursday 20 September, 2012


Venue: The Book Lounge
Time: 10.00 – 11.00
Price: Free Event

Lola Shoneyin, Alan Hollinghurst and Patrick Flanery chat about their writing and give you a glimpse of how it’s done. Chaired by Megan Hitchin.

Friday 21 September, 2012


Venue: The Fugard Theatre
Time: 14.00 – 15.00
Price: R40

Alan Hollinghurst talks to Loftus Marais about The Stranger’s Child


Venue: Fugard First
Time: 16.00 – 17.00
Price: R30

Joanne Harris and Marlene van der Westhuizen talk to each other about the French food they love and the books that resulted from that.

Saturday 22 September, 2012


Venue: The Fugard Theatre
Time: 12.00 – 13.30
Price: Free Event


Venue: The Bank
Time: 13.00 – 14.00
Price: Free Event

Emily Gravett, Chris Venter and Alex Latimer talk to Niki Daly about the challenges of the industry.


Venue: The Fugard Theatre
Time: 16.00 – 17.00
Price: R40

Alan Hollingurst and Damon Galgut discuss their work with Eusebius Mckaiser.


Venue: Fugard Studio
Time: 14.00 – 15.00
Price: R30

Craig Higginson, author of The Landscape Painter, talks to Karina Brink about his novel.


Venue: The Book Lounge
Time: 15.00 – 16.00
Price: Free Event

Dawn Garisch, Deon-Simphiwe Skade and Steven Boykey Sidley speak to Liesl Jobson about their work.


Venue: Fugard Studio
Time: 16.00 – 17.00
Price: R30

Alan Hollinghurst, Kiran Desai and Lionel Shriver discuss the process behind their books with Nancy Richards.


Venue: Fugard Ground
Time: 20.00 – 21.00
Price: R30

Eusebius McKaiser, author of A Bantu in my Bathroom, talks to Rebecca Davis about the book.

Book details

  • A Bantu in My Bathroom: Debating Race, Sexuality and Other Uncomfortable South African Topics by Eusebius McKaiser
    EAN: 9781920434373
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

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Little Lucky Lolo and the Very Big Boy Introduces Children to the Topic of Bullying

Little Lucky Lolo and the Very Big BoyNew from Pan Macmillan, Little Lucky Lolo and the Very Big Boy:

Little Lucky Lolo loved going to school. He enjoyed learning from his teacher and playing with his friends at break time.

One day a big new boy named Khulu joined the school. He ate all of Little Lucky Lolo’s lunch. The next day, Khulu took away the ball everyone was playing catch with. Little Lucky Lolo was very upset.

Why was Khulu being so nasty? And what could Little Lucky Lolo do about it?

A gentle and humorous story for young children that looks at the subject of bullying.

About the authors

Adrian Varkel lives in Cape Town with his wife, Stacy, his little boy Seth and his baby girl Ava. He likes to cook pasta, eat ice-cream and swim. He looks forward to reading all about Little Lucky Lolo to his children.

Daley Muller lives in Cape Town. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire and Fresh Living magazines and she is the designer of the Mü&Me range of stationery and clothing.

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Video: Niki Daly Shows How He Created the Illustrations for Next Stop, Zanzibar Road!

Next Stop, Zanzibar Road!Children’s book illustrator Niki Daly showed Books LIVE how he creates his lovely illustrations using his laptop, illustration sofware, a digital sketch pad and a digital pen. Niki Daly has written and illustrated numerous children’s books. Next Stop, Zanzibar Road is the latest.

Watch Niki Daly at work in this exclusive Books LIVE video:

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