Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.
— Nelson Mandela
South Africa is a country dear to our hearts. My husband and I lived in Cape Town for the first three years of our marriage and so I have always been keen to introduce something of the place and people to our children. (A visit one day hopefully.)
The time came at the beginning of lockdown (no particular reason why then). I spent some time reading stories to the children set in South Africa. This was a chance to share not only some of the country’s painful history and ongoing challenges but traditional folktales as well. Of course I didn’t know the Black Lives Matter protests were about to erupt.
I imagine most South African children are familiar with their own history and the sorts of stories we have read, but for those of us with children across other parts of the world, getting to know this slither of African history may widen our appreciation and love for people from this corner of the world.
I have attached a mixture of picture books and longer stories below to read with our children whether at home or in the classroom, and I hope they might stimulate conversation and broaden the minds of our little ones.
Further Recommended Posts:
Autumn Books and Inspiration
Children’s Book Recommendations
Books 0-5 years
Excerpt from “Oxford” by Tom Lovatt-Williams
I see the coloured lilacs flame
In many an ancient Oxford lane
And bright laburnum holds its bloom
Suspended golden in the noon,
The placid lawns I often tread
Are stained and carpeted with red…
These lines from Lovatt-Williams’ poem ‘Oxford’ capture perfectly the beauty of this city over the last few weeks. Lockdown has definitely made me far more appreciative of the way nature is changing around us here in Oxford as we take our ‘daily exercise’. Continue reading
It’s all about the Tudors this term in our house. There’s nothing like well-written historical fiction to bring history alive for young ones, alongside visiting museums and relevant places of interest. Continue reading
Barcelona, a fountain of courtesy, shelter of strangers, hospice to the poor, land of the valiant, avenger of the offended, reciprocator of firm friendship, a city unique in its location and beauty.
— Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote, 1605
Half term took us to the wonderful Barcelona for a few days, both “unique in its location and beauty” as Don Quixote exclaimed. Of course this was centuries before four great masters of modern art, Gaudí, Miró, Picasso and Dalí added their creativity to the city. Continue reading
Write what should never be forgotten.
— Isabel Allende
Understanding the past is fundamental to who we are in the present and the kind of society we seek to build into the future. Historical fiction is one way we can help our children to inhabit the past, Continue reading
The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless.”
— Jean-Jacques Rousseau
With the summer holidays fast approaching, there is plenty of time to develop the world of our imagination. We find audiobooks a great way of immersing ourselves in stories, so here are some we’ve enjoyed this year that you might like for your travels: Continue reading
As promised in last week’s post on World War II Historical Fiction, I’ve put a list together of literature set during the Victorian times that my daughter has pulled off our bookshelves. Continue reading
Just before Easter we got to hear Michael Morpurgo live in conversation with Nicolette Jones at the Sheldonian as part of the Oxford Literary Festival. Morpurgo is one of my son’s favourite authors and was speaking on his birthday, so it was an ideal birthday outing. The conversation covered topics from the personal to the political and engaged all ages.
However there were three things that he emphasised as being key for today’s children: Continue reading
“Rome, the city of visible history.”
— George Elliot
If you follow us on Instagram you’ll know that we’ve just got back from an amazing few days in Rome. George Elliot is spot on. Rome certainly is “the city of visible history”. Wherever we looked – whether up at the domes, down the cobbled alleyways or strolling around the Colosseum – history was there.