Site updated 6/8/2013

You can follow your dream … but follow the dream of every child as much as you can …

Peter Sis, in his acceptance speech as the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award Winner

Jay’s thoughts this month ...

Dangers of being a children’s book reviewer
The Latest

This display panel lists the most recent South African children’s books which have been reviewed. See the Reviews section (by year).  


ARABELLA, THE MOON AND THE MAGIC MONGONGO NUT by Hamilton Wende (Tafelberg 2013)
BEE MAGIC – written & illustrated by Claudette Barnes (Kids in Books 2012)  


ALL ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA (Struik Lifestyle 2013) CONNECTING TO NATURE  (ELRU “Maths and Science” series 2012)

Jay Heale is always delighted to receive email messages concerning children’s literature, especially about new books which have escaped him so far.

However, please note that Bookchat is not an agency: we do not publish children’s books and we do not place unpublished manuscripts with publishers. For that, authors should contact publishers directly.  

Email Jay here








South African Children's Book Awards

The most recent winner(s) of each award is given.

ABSA Early Childhood Development National Award


God’s Plan by Desmond Tutu

Alba Bouwer Prys vir Kinderliteratuur


In die Nimmer-Immer-Bos by Linde Rode, illustrated by Fiona Moodie (Tafelberg)

ATKV Kinderboek Toekennings


Voorleeskategorie 3-6 : skrywer : Theresa van Baalen for Karla Krullebok

Voorleeskategorie 3-6 : illustreerder : Chris Venter for Karla Krullebol

Selfleeskategorie Graad 1-3 : skrywer : Keina Swart for Hoekom praat grootmense so snaaks?

Selfleeskategorie Graad 1-3 : illustreerder : Maja Sereda for Hoekom praat grootmense so snaaks?

Selfleeskategorie Graad 4-5 : skrywer : Jaco Jacobs for Harlekyn, illustrated by Diek Grobler

Selfleeskategorie Graad 4-5 : illustreerder : Alistair Ackermann for Agent Snoet en die groen genugtig, written by Francois Bloemhof

Selfleeskategorie Graad 6-7 : Fanie Vijoen for Nova: die begin

Selfleeskategorie Graad 8-10 : Nerine Ahlers & Alet Steenkamp for Liefde is …

Bookchat Awards

Commendations issued annually, originally by Bookchat magazine, discontinued in 1997; renewed in 2010.


The “Bookchat” Book of the Year 2010

Just Sisi by Wendy Hartmann, illustrated by Joan Rankin (Human & Rousseau)


The “Bookchat” Book of the Year 2011

Solomon’s Story by Judy Froman (Pan Macmillan)

Bookchat Awards (Fiction)

A Wish This Big by Ingrid Mennen, illustrated by Katrin Coetzer (Tafelberg)

Finding Aunt Joan by Jenny Hatton, illustrated by Joan Rankin (Jacana)

Moving House by Jenny Hatton, illustrated by Joan Rankin (Jacana)

Stepping Solo by Jayne Bauling (Maskew Miller Longman)

The Magic Fish retold by Margie Orford, illustrated by Lizza Littlewort (Jacana)

Bookchat Awards (Non-fiction)

Fact Finder by Helen Lewis, illustrated by Nikki Miles (Metz Press)

Helen Suzman by Gillian Godsell (Maskew Miller Longman: “They Fought for Freedom”)

My First Book of Southern African Ocean Life by Roberta Griffiths, illustrated by Judy Maré (Struik Nature)

Special Awards

Recognition was offered to three people (in alphabetical order) who have, in their different ways, given outstanding support to children’s literature.

Gorry Bowes Taylor
For allocating regular time/space on her “Book Choice” programme on Fine Music Radio for many years.

Lona Gericke
For services particularly to Afrikaans children’s literature; many years on the committee of the SACBF and IBBY SA; and a past reviewer for Bookchat magazine.

Jean Williams
For leading Biblionef for over ten years to the publishing and re-issuing of key South African titles in all eleven official languages of our country. 

Elsabe Steenberg Prys


Willemien en die geel kat by Jaco Jacobs


Amelia de Waal, geskryf deur Wil Huygen : Die lewe en werke van kabouters / Die oproep van die kabouters, illustrated by Rien Poortvliet

Exclusive Books IBBY SA Award

An annual award to the author and illustrator of an outstanding illustrated story book for children published in South Africa.


Siyolo’s Jersey by Mari Grobler, illustrated by Elizabeth Pulles (Tafelberg)


Linde Rode for In die Immer-Nimmer-Bos / In the Never-Ever Wood, illustrated by Fiona Moodie

Katrine Harries Award

Was awarded biennially for illustration by the SA Institute of Librarianship and Information Science (SAILIS) and discontinued. The CLRU at Unisa has announced that this Award has now been revived to cover the years since 1998.

1999-2001: Dokter Me Di Syn by Piet Grobler
2002-2003: Toepa-Toepa Towery by Piet Grobler
2004-2005: Het Vogeltjies ABC by Piet Grobler
2006-2008: Princes van Afrikavlaktes by Emily Bornhoff

LAPA Jeugromankompetisie


Ek was hier by Nanette van Rooyen

Maskew Miller Longman Literary Awards

Launched in 2007 and calling for entries in all 11 official South African languages.

2010 – Category: Children’s stories

Kat in die pan vir die Fransman by Jelleke Wierenga (Winner)
‘n Bosluis red die kongingshuis by Jelleke Wierenga (Finalist)
Die groenmambas en Shaka se spies by Carina Diedericks-Hugo (Finalist)

Bongani’s Secret by Gail Smith (Winner)
Three Blind Dates by Pamela Newham (Finalist)

Unyanelizwe by Sivuyile Mazantsi (Winner)

Kgethang Nna by Norman Mahlaya (Winner)

Lembe Lerintshwa by Conny Lubisi (Winner) 

2011 Category: Children’s stories

Maya Fowler for Om op eiers te dans

Jayne Bauling for Stepping solo

Ezra Ncebisi Nkohla for Ngenxa Yesithembiso

Herbert Lentsoane for Tshweu ya ditsebe

Sello Mokua for Ke Molato wag a mang?


Awarded annually by Nasionale Pers (now NB Publishers) for the best children’s book published by one of its related publishers. More recently the prize has been split in two: one for an illustrated book and the other for a youth novel.


The bird of heaven: the story of a Swazi sangoma by Peter Dunseith


Willem Poprok by Derrick van der Walt 


 Vir Jeuglektuur : S A Partridge for Dark Poppy’s demise

Vir Kinderlektuur : Alex D’Angelo for Goblin diaries, illustrated by Marjorie van Heerden

Percy FitzPatrick Award

Awarded originally by the SA Institute of Librarianship and Information Science (SAILIS) for the best South African children’s book written in English. Discontinued, then revived biennially under the direction of the English Association of South Africa.

Daniel Fox and the Jester’s Legacy by Andy Peterson (Penguin)

SACBF Vivian Wilkes Award

Discontinued. Was awarded annually by the South African Children’s Book Forum to the illustrator of an outstanding children’s book. Sponsorship covered ten such awards. The final ‘Vivi’ was awarded to:

Natalie Hinrichsen for Tell the moon, by Ann Walton (Tafelberg)

SACBF Honours List

For some years the SACBF collected and displayed a Travelling Exhibition of all South African children’s books published during the preceding year. From these titles (as submitted by publishers) an Honours List was chosen and publicised. This practice fell away. To a large extent it has been replaced by the 100 Representative South African Children’s Books exhibition which was initiated (by the SACBF) in the 2004 IBBY Congress and then revived and updated (by IBBY SA) in the 2007 Cape Town Book Fair.

Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature

Sponsored biennially by Sanlam and awarded by Tafelberg Publishers. The original categories of Afrikaans and English have been enlarged to include the Nguni and Sotho language groups.


Afrikaans - gold medal: Annelie Ferreira, Tot siens Koning Arthur (Tafelberg 2012)
silver medal: Derick van der Walt, Hoopvol

English – gold medal: Jayne Bauling: Dreaming of Light (Tafelberg 2012)
silver medal: Neil Malherbe: The Magyar Conspiracy

isiZulu – silver medal: B D Khawula, Yihlathi leli

Setswana – gold medal: Kabelo Duncan Kgatea, Mmudubudu


Willem Poprok by Derick van der Walt (Silver)

Sidekick by Adeline Radloff (Gold)
Agency Blue by Alex Smith (Silver)

Ngiyolibala Ngife by Dumisani Sibiya (Gold)

Ke a hwa, ke a ikepela by Mabonchi Motimele Goodwill (Silver)

Scheepers Prys vir Jeugliteratuur


Pandora se boks by Nelia Engelbrecht

Tienie Holloway-medaljie vir Kleuterliteratuur


Theresa van Baalen for Aspris-krokkedis, illustrated by Joan Rankin 

IBBY Honour List

All National Sections of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) have the right biennially to nominate books for writing, illustration and translation. South Africa has done so since 1994. The most recent nominations made by IBBY SA are:


Jaco Jacobs: Suurlemoen (LAPA Uit-gewers, Pretoria, 2006)

Mhlobo Jadezweni: UTshepo mde / Tall enough (Electric Book Works, Cape Town, 2006)

K Sello Duiker: The Hidden Star (Umuzi Books Random House, Cape Town, 2006) (posthumously)

Russell H Kaschula:Emthonjeni translated into isiXhosa from his own English Take Me to the River (New Africa Books, Cape Town, 2006)

Anneliese Voigt-Peters: Ouma Ruby’s Secret by Chris van Wyk (Giraffe Books Pan Macmillan, Johannesburg, 2006)


Author: Afrikaans
Derick van der Walt for Lien se lankstaanskoene (Tafelberg)

Authors: English
Dianne Case and Yvonne Hart for Katy of Sky Road (MML)

Translation from English to Afrikaans
Jaco Jacobs for Willemien en die geel kat (from Chris Riddell’s original English Ottoline and the Yellow Cat) (LAPA)

Elizabeth Pulles for Siyolo se trui / Siyolo’s jersey (Tafelberg)


Author: Afrikaans Linda Rode for In die Nimmer-Immer-Bos.

Author: English S A Partridge for Fuse.

Translator: André P Brink for his Afrikaans translation of Die avonture van Alice in Wonderland.

Illustrator: Joan Rankin for Just Sisi.