#WorldReadAloudDay: I’m this year’s ambassador!

wrad 

1 Feb 2019 – World Read Aloud Day

The fire of literacy is created by the emotional sparks between a child, a book and the person reading.

There is huge potential in South Africa to turn our literacy crisis around so that reading becomes a powerful tool, to tackle inequality and poverty.  As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.’  While education may be the most powerful weapon, reading aloud and storytelling are integral building blocks in learning.

This is why NGO, Nal’ibali, focusses on reading-for enjoyment. Nal’ibali is built on the simple logic that a well-established culture of reading can be the tipping point for education in South Africa.  Part of this ongoing drive to encourage South Africans to read is Nal’ibali’s World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) initiative.

Call to action

As the biggest literacy drive in the country, WRAD seeks to draw attention to the importance of reading aloud to children in their mother tongue. Every year, thousands of South Africans join in the celebration. They are doing it for their children, their language and their futures. This year Nal’ibali is asking those who are already readers to not only read the story commissioned for WRAD 2019 with their children on the day, but to reach out to their networks and encourage others do the same and be part of the South Africa’s literacy solution.

World Read Aloud Day is being celebrated on Friday, 1 February 2019.

A new story is born

Jade Jacobsohn, Nali’bali’s Managing Director, says, ‘Every year we commission a brand-new story and translate it into all 11 official SA languages. Then we encourage adults and caregivers across the country, to join us in reading it aloud to children on WRAD. This year’s story, ‘Where Are You?’  is written by Ann Walton, a well known South African author and illustrator of children’s books.

‘The story can be downloaded from our website from Monday, 21 January. We’d like to encourage South Africans to register that they will be reading aloud and to share pictures of their reading sessions online.’

Why read aloud?

Most of the teaching that happens in a child’s early years is oral.  Being able to recognise and understand a wide pool of words, better equips them to learn and succeed in the classroom.

The reading of a story out loud not only shows children the value of books but starts discussions, builds bonds between the reader and the audience and motivates children to learn to read and enjoy books beyond their current reading ability,’ says Jacobson.

Remember to tell us you’re reading

‘Last year, with the help of our network partners and the public, we managed to read to over a million children,’ says Jacobsohn. ‘In 2019, our aim is to beat that record and reach 1.5 million!’ In order to monitor the success of WRAD, Nal’ibali asks that all participants log their reading activities on its website: https://nalibali.org/WRAD-2019 

So what’s happening on WRAD?

Apart from promoting the ‘Where Are You?’ story on digital and social media platforms, Nal’ibali’s network of partners, schools project – Story Powered Schools, Literacy Mentors and FUNda Leader volunteers will be reading the story aloud at reading clubs and community centres across the country.  With the support of the Department of Basic of Education, thousands of school children and educators will be joining the celebration too.

A special event will be held on the morning of the 1st February 2019, at the inspirational Sandton Library, with 200 children from Soweto and Alexandra. The event will be attended by this year’s campaign ambassador, children’s author and social activist, Lebohang Masango and is supported by the Department of Education and its Read to Lead campaign.

Masango will give a special multilingual reading of ‘Where Are You?’ and engage the attending children and adults about the importance of reading aloud. She says, ‘Reading to your children is important because the benefits will follow them for their entire life. Not only is it great for bonding but you are also expanding their vocabulary, their knowledge, their imaginations, their ability to focus and confidently articulate their ideas out loud. Reading is truly the gift that keeps on giving!’

Copies of her own book, ‘Mpumi’s Magic Beads’, will be given to each child to further encourage them to keep reading.

Community walk

During the week of 21 January, a Nal’ibali mascot and volunteers with take to the streets within various communities to promote WRAD while handing out story cards.

If you would like to join the Nal’ibali’s World Read Aloud Day:

  1. Visit www.nalibali.org or www.nalibali.mobi to download the official story in any of the languages.
  2. Pledge the number of children you will be reading to.
  3. Share pictures of read-aloud sessions on the Nal’ibali’s Facebook and Twitter platforms: @NalibaliSA, or use the hashtag #WRADChallenge2019 on the day.

 

For more information about the Nal’ibali reading-for-enjoyment campaign, free children’s stories in a range of SA languages, tips on reading and writing with children, details on how to set up a reading club or to request training, visit www.nalibali.org, www.nalibali.mobi, or find them on Facebook and Twitter: nalibaliSA.

New Book Alert: The Great Cake Contest

great cake contest

The Great Cake Contest is a sweet little story about a little boy who loves cake and tries to bake the best cake for the contest, but he and all his friends have the same ideas! You can read more about it and download it for free: here.

Last year on 27 October 2018, I had the honour of being invited by Book Dash to contribute to the amazing work that they do for children’s literacy by volunteering my time to create a brand new storybook. It’s one of the coolest things I have ever done!

book dash 3

Book Dash organised us into 9 teams, each with a writer (me), illustrator (Nompumelelo Mduli), designer (Amanda van der Walt) and an editor (Anna Stroud). We spent a good 12 hours creating this lovely piece of work. It was so much fun. I really admire the efficiency of the organisers – they knew exactly how long each page and illustration should take in order for us to all be on time.

book dash 1
Photographed by Aisha O’Reilly

I got to meet new people who are all passionate about children’s literacy, like Aisha and we had a conversation about the importance of books and representation for little readers.

book dash 2

I’m grateful that I continue to be able to live a life in which I use my mind, body and spirit in collaboration with others and contribute good things to the world. I hope you enjoy our story! And just like that, I am the author of two children’s books! My first one is this piece of my heart: Mpumi’s Magic Beads.

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Thank you, Book Dash for inviting me to be part of your brilliant work!

#ComeSeeMe: Book Circle Capital

November is my birthday month! So, you’re welcome to gift me with your presence at Book Circle Capital in Melville, Johannesburg on Saturday, 24 November 2018. We will even be doing arts and crafts at the end of the session, which is fun for everyone!

#ComeSeeMe: South African Book Fair 2018

Book fair

Happy National Book Week everybody! The South African Book Fair will be held on 7 – 9 September 2018 in Newtown. I will be facilitating and participating in some sessions. I look forward to seeing you!

Friday, 7 September 2018

The Magic of Storytelling

A reading of Mpumi’s Magic Beads

Venue: Market Theatre Precinct, Auditorium

Time: 08:45 – 09:30

Free for children in the school’s programme.

 

Kids Write All the Time

Facilitating a panel of child authors featuring Michelle Nkamankeng, Lelo Mofokeng, Amr Sallie and Karabo Nkoli.

Venue: Market Theatre Precinct, Auditorium

Time: 11:15 – 12:00

Free for children in the school’s programme.

 

Keorapetse Kgositsile Poetry Café – Session Two

Poetry featuring Mthunzikazi Mbungwana, Xabiso Vili, Roché Kester and Katleho Kano
Shoro

Venue: Ramolao Makhene Theatre

Time : 16:00-16:45

Price: R40. Buy tickets: here.

 

Sunday, 9 September 2018

She Speaks

Panelist in conversation with Elinor Sisulu, Dr Sindiwe Magona and Lauri Kubuitsile

Venue: Sarafina

Time : 10:00 – 11:00

Price: R40. Buy tickets: here.

Trending SA

In case you missed it, I had the opportunity to be on this awesome talk show last week with amazing presenters Pabi Moloi, Nina Hastie, Kuli Roberts and Dr Musa Mthombeni. I had so much fun with them. You can watch it below.

‘Mpumi’s Magic Beads’ has a new publisher.

Do you see this image? Mpumi’s Magic Beads is being translated into all of our South African languages and it will become widely available from August, September and October. You’re welcome to pre-order: here.

Even this moment starts with a story and I have to tell it because I have been smiling to myself when I think about how all of this came to be. It was a hot Saturday in December. My friend Lisa had invited me to her other friend’s house in Morningside for a day party. It was fabulous. Our hosts, some lovely Ghanaian men, prepared West African food in the kitchen while we women sipped on bubbles and shared good conversation. Later that evening, Shaka, whose acquaintance I had made before, arrived and we got to talking about my children’s book. He told me that his family owned a publishing house and that he’d put me in contact with them. I was still quite set in my desire to continue to self-publish but I also believe in the importance of allowing opportunity in, so I thanked him.

Thank goodness for that. Self-publishing has been an interesting journey. Would you believe me if I told you that producing the book is the easy part? The challenge comes when other people become involved and your expectation for common decency to be common is sorely disappointed. (When the legal proceedings are done, remind me to tell you about how unethical your fave is.)

I love everything I do as a baby Anthropologist and poet and a student and I would never want my literary and imaginative work to suffer because business admin in this particular path is sucking the joy out of me. So, after a good run with Thank You Books that had me taking the steps to conquer my doubts and do what truly makes me happy, I am ready to hand my baby off to David Philip Publishers/ New Africa Books! I’m excited to see how this dream will be nurtured by capable hands who have been giving worlds to children for much longer than I have.

I appreciate all of the support you have given me throughout this time. I hope you all go over to www.newafricabooks.com to place your orders and keep this dream growing and glowing for me but, most importantly, for little readers everywhere.

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Thank you, Lisa. Thank you, Shaka. Thank you, Dusanka.