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 voice that tells us a story aloud is always more than a carrier wave bringing us the meaning; it’s a companion through the events of the story, ensuring that the feelings it stirs in us are held within the circle of attachment connecting the adult reading, and the child listening. To hear a story is a social act.” — Francis Spufford, The Child that Books Built
I love Francis Spufford’s reminder that “to hear a story is a social act.” Continue reading
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
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
With Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday upon us, I’ve updated my book list. Perhaps you are looking for ideas for your family or as gifts for godchildren or grandchildren, you can browse my list here, 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
There are few stronger family bonds than this habit of devoting an occasional hour to reading aloud, on winter evenings, at any rate. The practice is pleasant at the time, and pleasant in the retrospect, it gives occasion for much bright talk, merry and wise, and quickens family affection by means of intellectual sympathy. Indeed, the wonder is that any family should neglect such a simple means of pure enjoyment, and of moral, as well as intellectual culture.
— Charlotte Mason, Formation of Character
Happy New Year!
With my elder two at school since Easter, it has been very special to have time in the day to read longer chapter books to my four year girl that are pitched just for her. 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
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