Festive wishlist 2021: Five magical children’s books that make the perfect gifts

Give your child the gift of reading this Christmas. Here are five of the most inspirational, magical and powerful local children’s books of the year:

Check out the list:

Shudu Finds Her Magic by Shudufhadzo Musida

In this courageous and beautiful book, Miss South Africa, Shudufhadzo Musida, tells the story of her upbringing: of a delightful and outgoing girl in a small village named Ha-Vhangani. She is surrounded by a loving extended family. Things for Shudu, however, take a turn for the worse when her mother gets a new job and they move to Mpumalanga. At her new school, Shudu is bullied by her classmates. Read how Shudu overcomes the bullying and sadness, and grows into a girl, and then an adult, who has learned to love herself.

Read The Reading List’s exclusive interview with Shudufhadzo, and then watch her read an excerpt on YouTube:


Keegan & Samier: Die sokkerfiasko by André Trantraal 

André Trantraal won a SALA and an ATKV Children’s Book Award this year for his ground-breaking picture book series for children age seven and up. The author, who has put Kaaps Afrikaans on the map with his series of children’s books, calls Die sokkerfiasko a ‘soccer story with a feminist flavour’. The story focuses on two best friends Keegan and Samier, and Samier’s twin sister Samia who is an excellent soccer player. However, playground bully Brent Peterson refuses to play soccer with a girl …

Watch André win his SALA on YouTube (from 32:00):


Wanda the Brave by Sihle-isipho Nontshokweni 

Meet Wanda, with her glorious head of hair.

Today, Wanda is visiting the hair salon where she’ll use all the hair secrets Makhulu taught her. But Aunty Ada wants her to straighten her hair with a white chemical. Wanda and her friend Sandra come up with a plan and both girls stand strong and brave in the face of this big challenge.

Bold and zesty, Wanda The Brave is a celebration of girl power, and a reminder that courage and friendship is a mighty force!

Watch the book trailer on Twitter!


!Qhoi n|a Tjhoi/Skilpad en Volstruis/Tortoise and Ostrich by Katrina Esau

A delightful folk tale from the Northern Cape, and the very first children’s book to feature a story for children in the near-extinct N|uu language of the San. This tale about Ostrich and Tortoise is written in N|uu, Afrikaans and English. Children will be inspired by the wily antics of the tortoise, and the humorous illustrations by well-known artist Stanley Grootboom.

Proceeds from the book’s sales will go towards Esau’s ongoing efforts to preserve N|uu.

The book can be purchased online or at the Melville-based bookstore Book Circle Capital.



Pumpkin Finds Her Kindness by Bianca Flanders

Also in Afrikaans as Pampoenpit se groen gevoelthis second story in Bianca’s Pumpkin-series is about finding your kindness when the big green monster of jealousy rears its head … ‘Pumpkin Pie was grumpy. Her day had been the worst. She thought she’d win a prize at school but Megan had come first. Her anger started rumbling. It SIZZLED, SNAKED and GREW into a big green monster that she couldn’t quite undo.’

Watch Bianca chat about Pumpkin Finds Her Kindness:

Categories Afrikaans Fiction South Africa

Tags Children Childrens books Festive gifts 2021 Festive wishlist 2021 Jacana Media LAPA Publishers New Africa Books

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