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
The children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times—a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story-books”
— Charlotte Mason (Vol. 1, p. 153)
So it looks like holidays are off the cards this summer for most of us but in Charlotte Mason’s words we can still “have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times…” So at a time when we can’t travel and see people so easily, books are a magical way of doing just that both for us adults and our children. So let’s help our children travel this summer and choose books to take them places. They may even make some friends along the way. 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
I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp.
— J.K. Rowling
Rowling talks of bedtime stories, and of course there is something special about children all ready for bed being read aloud a story about a faraway land before they drift off to the Land of Nod. Continue reading
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
— Robert Frost
Doesn’t Robert Frost capture the beauty of the season beautifully?! The leaves are falling and the skies are grey. Autumn has arrived. 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 Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Doesn’t Mary Oliver capture the spirit of summer so well?! Summer is here. What better way to celebrate with your little one than grab a blanket and a pile of books and head outside?! 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
“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.