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Celebrating South African Children’s Books this National Book Week

by | Sep 8, 2020 | Giveaways, Just Kids, Reading | 24 comments

7-13 September 2020 is National Book Week and it’s also Heritage Month. What better way to celebrate than by honouring a few of our current favourite South African Children’s Books? There are many, but for this month we are focusing on 5 that have captivated our girls.

Current South African Children’s Books that we love…

Willow And Roo Handmade Books

How Giraffe got stuck in a cloud – Willow and Roo

Willow and Roo books truly are something special and not just for the sweet lessons learned, but also for the way these book are made. Every page is written by hand and the illustration painted. Then the story gets printed on environmentally friendly paper that’s lovingly stitched together to become a treasured family heirloom. A handmade drawstring cotton bags serves as extra protection too.

In this adventure Giraffe dreams about becoming the tallest of all… After months of stretching and growing he finally achieves his dream, but does being the tallest really make him happy? We learned a lot from Giraffe and know other families will too…

* Visit Willow and Roo on Instagram to order your copy of How Giraffe got stuck in the Cloud. One tree will be planted with every story sold.

The “once upon a Rhyme” series – Joy Husted

“Eendag was daar ‘n Wildsbok” (Available in English) and “Eendag was daar ‘n Bos Skool” (Available in English and Zulu) are both wonderful reads dealing with common emotions experienced by our little ones. Whether it’s learning to deal with challenging emotions such as anger or discovering and celebrating your own unique talents, these animal friends are here to set the example and lend a helping “paw”.

The stories are fun, easy to follow and read – thanks to the font used. And who can resist some catchy rhyme? This definitely helps every lesson stick in your mind! There a loads more titles and themes available in English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa. All aimed at developing our children’s social and emotional skills.

BONUS: At the end of each book you’ll find a special section for mom and dad filled with extra ideas, points of discussion and activities to enrich story time (and learning) even more.

* For now, you can purchase these books online at

Bau And The Baobab

Bau and the Baobab – Lesley Beake (Only available in English)

Bau and her friends are playing hide-and-seek. She counts to 10, then opens her eyes to go find them. As she looks around her, she discovers a few new friends… Our girls were instantly drawn into this story by the familiar game and enjoyed finding all kinds of beautiful African animals with Bau. The illustrations are very simply, yet striking, almost reminiscent of rock or sand drawings. It’s a quick read that’s perfect for beginners too.

* Find this title in most bookstores and online.

Sulwe Lupita Nyongo

Sulwe – Lupita Nyong’o (Only available in English)

We bought this book for Ava’s birthday and see it as a must for all girls (and boys). Sulwe is darker than everyone in her family and everyone at school. She wants to be bright and beautiful like her mom and sister but then a shooting star takes her on the most magical journey… Soon Sulwe learns to see her own beauty.

The stunning Lupita Nyong’o wrote this book and shares the struggles she faced growing up in the Authors note. Reading this and the story of Sulwe opened our eyes to a world we did not know but now understand a little bit better. My favourite quote from the book is when the star explains to Sulwe

“we need them both, on their sunniest day and their darkest night, and every shade in between. Together they make the world we know, light and dark, strong and beautiful.”

I want our girls to know this to be true, right to their core and see all others (no matter how different from themselves) as beautiful, strong and valued too.

* Sulwe can be found in most bookstore  and online too.

Pieter Kokkewieter en die hart op sy mou

Pieter Kokkewieter en die hart op sy mou – Milan Murray (Available in English and Afrikaans)

This is not the 1st time we have mentioned Pieter Kokkewieter or Murray & Me on the blog (and it probably won’t be the last). Our girls keep circling back to these books. It must be the combination of beautiful artistic imagery and compassionate writing that keeps them fascinated. Pieter wears his heart on his sleeve and the entire world can see how he feels. One day everything changes! Pieter gets bullied and his heart breaks…

We follow Pieter as he learns to heal his heart and in the process also gain an understanding of why someone may be bullying others. That’s probably my favourite part of the story showing us how important empathy is.

* Pieter Kokkewieter and the entire Marray & Me collection is available in most bookstores as well as online.

Other ways to get involved this National Book Week

With over more than half of all South African households (58%) not owning a single leisure reading book, it’s time for all of us to step in and bring about change.

  • #BUYABOOK – Buy a copy of “Fun With Funda Bala” – an activity book made by the South African Book Development Council for children that honours all official languages as well as Nama (spoken by the Khoisan). It’s only R20 and available at Bargain Books or online at Ethni Kids and Exclusive Books. Then pay it forward by donating it to a child or adult.

Fun With Funda Bala #BuyabookNational Book Week South Africa

  • #READBECAUSE – Unite across social media, at work, at home, at school, amongst friend and family, wherever you find yourself and help promote a reading culture that encourages more people to see the value of reading.
  • Support our local authors – keep our creatives writing by buying their books and sharing them with others too.
  • Take part in events such as The South African Book Fair happening online this weekend from September 11th to  the13th. The Magic Tent Children’s Programme is completely FREE and includes a range of activities that provide entertainment, engagement and stimulation for children of all ages in all South African languages. Access “The MagicTent” during the South African Book Fair simply by visiting For R50 you can gain access to the entire fair. (Click here for the full SABF-Programme-2020)

South Arican Book Fair 2020

  • Help spread the word – Share this blog post and others like this with friends and family or even on your own social media platforms, encouraging others to get involved too.

South African National Book Week

Giveaway closed – CONGRATULATION Tanya August!

We’re also giving away a little hamper filled with a selection of the South African Children’s Books mentioned above…


It’s easy!

Simply tell us which of the books mentioned above you’re most eager to read with your little one. And that’s it!

South African Childrens Books Just A Mamma Blog


  1. Only entries via comments left below will be considered.
  2. This giveaway is only open to South African residents residing in South Africa.
  3. The winner must be 18+ years old.
  4. The giveaway closes on the 22nd of September 2020.
  5.  The winner is picked at random and announced a few days later.
  6. This prize is not exchangeable or refundable.
  7. Please enter valid email and contact info. If we can not get hold of you within 48 hours a new winner will be picked.
  8. The greatest care will be taken when mailing your hamper of South African Children’s Books but Just a Mamma does not accept any responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged good
For more book we love, have a look here.

PHOTO CREDIT |  Celeste Van der Berg from Celeste van der Berg Photography

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  1. Leanne van der Zee

    Ek sal graag Pieter Kokkewieter en sy hart aan sy mou vir my kids wil lees, want ek hou aan se dis Ok as hulle hartseer is en al baie vir hulle verduidelik ek dra my hart op my mou nes hulle so om hulle meer van ons emosies te verduidelik en hoe dit heeltmal normaal is .

    • Marisa

      Pieter Kokkewieter lyk na ‘n pragtige boekie met ‘n lessie daarby! Ek sal dit baie graag vir ons dogtertjie wil lees ❤️

  2. Therese Hardy

    Would love to read Sulwe with my little girl.

  3. Kari Walker

    How Giraffe got stuck in a cloud – (did not know of Willow & Roo – thanks for the info!)

  4. Danielle

    Definitely excited about the Willow & Roo book – How Giraffe got stuck in the cloud :):)

    • Sarah

      How Giraffe got stuck in a cloud. My two boys would love it!

  5. Lisa Nel

    How giraffe got stuck in a cloud🧡🧡

  6. Carien de Beer

    Pieter Kokkewieter lyk soos vn boek wat my 2 seuns sal geniet!

  7. Deline

    How giraffe got stuck in a cloud

    • Tanya

      Would ❤️ How Giraffe got stuck in a cloud. My kids are so amused with animals and ❤️ all kinds this book they will enjoy so much

  8. Diana

    Such a hard decision but I think I’m drawn to Sulwe the most. A lovely selection of books!

  9. Nirvana Ramdhani

    How Giraffe got stuck in a cloud 💕

  10. Christel du Toit

    Ek en my man sal baie daarvan hou om ‘Eendag was daar ‘n wildsbok’ te lees vir ons seuntjie.

  11. Annemie De Jager

    Wow! Ek dink beide my kinders sal mal wees oor Pieter Kokkewieter, dis so ‘n fantastiese en prettige manier om empatie aan hulle te verduidelik en illustreer.

  12. Annemie De Jager

    Wow! Ek dink beide my kinders sal mal wees oor Pieter Kokkewieter, dis so ‘n fantastiese en prettige manier om empatie aan hulle te verduidelik!

  13. Amalie

    Sal graag “How giraffe got his head stuck in a cloud” met my dogtertjie wil lees! Lyk na n baie spesiale en mooi boekie!

    • Brigette Verhoef

      This is a tough decision as you have shared a great selection of books. I’m choosing Sulwe as I am working on expanding our books to be more representative of all races and I absolutely love the story line 🖤

  14. Willecia Vermaak

    Almal! Maar ons love Milan Murray se boeke en het nog nie Pieter Kokkewieter nie. Maar het laaste tyd moeite gemaak met stories met karakters van verskillende kulture ook en hier bo is baie oulike voorstelle. Dankie!

  15. Rachelle

    Would love to read his Giraffe got stuck in a cloud to my little boy. And eventually to my class of little ones to.
    Books are great! With so much knowledge and creativity to take ones mind on

  16. Lorelle

    Would love to read how giraffe 🦒 got stuck in a cloud ☁️ to my little girl ❤️

  17. Chelsea Miller

    Sulwe sounds absolutely beautiful, but all the books look wonderful x I just want to say that your blog posts are so detailed and lovely, it is clear that you put a lot of work into them. You are an exceptional blogger x

  18. Tanja

    How Giraffe got stuck in a cloud

  19. Berthe-Marie

    Moeilik om te besluit. Bau and the Baobab klink soos n boekie wat al my kinders sal geniet, maar ek dink ek sal dit love om Sulwe vir my meisies voor te lees.

  20. Nonna Nowak

    Pieter Kokkewieter
    Vir my 2 klein seuntjies wat baie laat in my gekom het.
    Ek is die ouma.


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is a space for Mammas by a Mamma. Intended to inspire, motivate and be helpful. No judgement or expert advice – just gorgeous photo shoots, fun celebrations, great finds for mamma and baby, inspirational moms I have come across, places to go and vacations to have, as well as my own journey of motherhood and family life.

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