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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en Welcome Read the World Book Club to Sunny South Africa…

July 8th, 2016 · 4 Comments

We are so excited to be part of the Read the World Book Club. This week the book club is visiting Africa and today the tour is virtually stopping by, and visiting us in South Africa. We thought we would like to write a post welcoming all the folk visiting our blog from Simple Homeschool today… and include a collection of South African books for children.

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Let’s begin by introducing you to Sunny South Africa…

Se7en + 1 Questions Kids Ask Us About Living in Africa.

Se7en + 1 More Questions Kids Ask Us About Living in Africa.

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South African Places to Visit

  1. Se7en Brilliant Things to Do in Cape Town…
  2. Wild life in Cape Point Nature Reserve…
  3. Se7en Free Outings in Cape Town.
  4. Se7en Budget Outings in Cape Town.
  5. Hiking Table Mountain with Kids…
  6. Se7en Priceless Outings in Cape Town.
  7. The Great Kalk Bay Round-Up.
  8. And the se7en + 1th

  9. Se7en’s Trans-South African Road Trip…

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South African Flavours and Food

  1. Yuppie Chef’s Enkosi Cookathon – A Week of South African Recipes.
  2. Se7en + 1 Review Justin Bonello’s Latest Cook Book: Roadtripping in Southern Africa.
  3. Se7en Reviews: Simply Delicious’s Cook Book Review and Bunny Chow…
  4. Se7en and the South African Braai.
  5. Se7en Make Bobotie and Yellow Rice in Se7en Steps.
  6. Se7en Make Buttermilk Rusks.
  7. Se7en Make Koeksisters and Donuts.
  8. And the se7en + 1th

  9. Marvellous Milk Tart in Se7en Steps…

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South African Activities For Kids

  1. Se7en + 1 Tips for Creating Nature NoteBooks With Kids…
  2. Learning How to be Citizen scientists in the National Botanical Gardens.
  3. Se7en’s Rainbow Nation on the Crafty Crow.
  4. Se7en Build A Township.
  5. Ndebele Huts to Hats in Se7en Steps.
  6. Madiba Magic … Silk Shirts.
  7. Se7en Create Bead and Wire Flowers.
  8. And the se7en + 1th

  9. Beastly Bushveld Bunting in Se7en Steps.


Se7en of the Best South African Story Books for Kids

  1. Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom, is a picture book and the true story of a man with a heart for freedom… I have a feeling that you would want to read and learn about this great man alongside your kids. This book has beautiful illustrations and the story captures the essence of the man. If you are looking for an easy chapter book on his life, then choose The Children’s Madiba. This is a biography that your children can read on their own and get a sense of the man that he was.

  2. Anything by the Bester sisters is just fantastic… she grew up on a farm in South Africa and the main characters in their books are a type of cattle, called Nguni cattle. These cows and their unique colours are quintessentially South African. The stories tend to have lots to learn in them… life lessons and practical lessons. For example in the long trousers a young nguni cow needs help to shorten his trousers before a large family wedding… everyone is too busy to help him, so he leaves his trousers on the table and goes to bed. The next morning everyone gets up and seeing his trousers shortens them for him… of course by the time the he puts them on for the wedding… they are way too short!!!
  3. If you are looking for a lovely South African picture books then look no further than Niki Daly. He consistently has produced beautifully illustrated picture books with poignant tales that stir the imagination. Our favourite character of his is by far Jamela who is just the sweetest little girl, and the scrapes she gets into often have a cultural twist to them.
  4. Famous South African Folk Tales: Folk tales are a great way to provide a background to South African culture. The stories are short two to three page at most, with lots of fun illustrations. While I usually read through this book to my younger children I will often find it has been taken off the shelf by my older kids for a quick read. Stories Gogo Told Me: The author of this book spent several months touring Southern African villages, looking for the village storyteller, usually a grandma, known as Gogo. The stories are often tall tall tales, with animals as the main characters… they are fun and include a number of life lessons in them, as folk tales tend to do.
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  6. The Monty Stories: are about a mongoose that lives in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens… the stories revolve around Monty and his animal friends, al local birds and animals. They venture out into local natural sites and have an adventure or two along the way. All the way through the stories a nature facts are woven into the plot… there is lots to learn about Cape plants and animals, and this is a lovely way to present them. You can download activity sheets for each book and though they aren’t available on Amazon you can buy, download a pdf version from the publisher.
  7. Seekers of the Lost Boy is a novel for middle schoolers and a great family read a loud, because there is a lot to talk about. It is the story of a homeschooling family in Cape Town who discover an old bottle on the beach that contains a message. The children who live in a post-apartheid South Africa, go on a quest to find out the story behind the message and in doing so take a look back in history. My children are interested in history but I have said it before and I will say it again – there is a gap in our local history that understandably for very painful reasons folk just don’t want to talk about. I love books like this one that bring history to life and open it up for our children to read about and understand.
  8. The Diary of Iris Vaughan is a book that was read to me as a child in our last lesson of the day… imagine hot, dusty afternoons waiting for the bell to ring and your feet slipped out of their shoes swinging under the bench. This book is hard to come by and most likely out of print, but it is a part of my childhood and describes almost exactly the world that my grandmother would have lived in. It is a diary written by a very literal 11 year old girl, and it is life as she saw it in South Africa before the Anglo-Boer war. It is hysterically funny, and very very South African. It is not easy reading, because it is full of her spelling mistakes and such… but if you do discover it, read it to your kids: It begins… “Today is my birthday. I am going to write a diary a dirt a diary Book. Pop told me I could. He gave me this fat book. It was a government book, but it is mine now. I shall write here in the loft and hide my book in the old box with straw where no one can see it. Everyone should have a diary. Because life is too hard with the things one must say to be perlite and the things one must say not to lie. This is something I can never get right. If you say you are an ugly old man. that is bad manners. and if I say you are not an ugly old man I am telling a lie and not speaking the truth… “
  9. And then Jock of the Bushveld, forget the movie… it doesn’t even come close to the book. This is the story of the life of a hunting dog, Jock, the runt of the litter, during the Transvaal Goldrush and one for older kids to read. The era of pioneering in South Africa and the dog and his transport rider owner find themselves in many exciting scrapes and adventures, and their survival a harsh, tough and uncompromising world. There are long portions of descriptive writing describing the environment and wildlife around them… there are lots of details and stories within stories. This is not an easy read, I would read it in small chunks to my children, that being said the author did write it as a collection of stories he told at bedtime to his children, so chapters are pretty much complete stories.


Previous Posts our Read the World Book Club Series

Se7en Are Off on a Book Voyage

Se7en Journeys to Africa with the Read the World Book Club…

You are welcome to join the club… and if you do post on instagram use the #Giveyourchildtheworld

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Follow se7en_hoods’s board Se7en At School on Pinterest.

→ 4 CommentsTags: Brilliant Books · Se7en at School

Se7en Visit the Logos Hope…

July 8th, 2016 · 6 Comments

You know how we love ships and shipping… The Logos Hope, is visiting Cape Town from 23 June until 12 July, it is the largest floating book Fair in the World. The goal of the Logos Hope is to bring Knowledge, Help and Hope to people all over the world. At the moment their crew of over four hundred folk, comprises of people from more than fifty countries of the world, all serving together and working together as a team. This is really a world tour, on a world tour.

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When the team are in port they have a Book Fair, they do community outreach programs and also visit churches. They visited our church on Sunday and my gang were desperate to take a tour and see what life was like on board the ship. When one of the team contacted me and said, “I follow your blog, would you like to visit us,” I was literally blown away… I have said it before and I will say it again, “Blogging takes you to some quite incredible places.” Anyway, that’s exactly what we did… we visited and took a tour of this unique ship…

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We chose a particularly cold and wintry day to visit and it was actually great to get out of the cold and meet our guide and her friend. Our guide is a full time mum, and is raising her two little ones on board ship. The ship has a school for the children of families that live on board. Families tend to live in the same corridors, in small apartment size quarters. Play space is at a premium, and my guys were quite appreciative of wide open spaces they have. The children lead a very interesting life, and their mums were filled with wisdom and anecdotes for my curious kids.

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We immediately discovered how the teams stay in shape… it is a nine deck ship and to get anywhere you have to climb stairs and lots of them…

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First Stop the Deck

On a good day you would get a fantastic view of Table Mountain from here… on a wild wintry day… we got to see Table Mountain covered in a cloudy blanket.

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Otherwise we learnt about drills and safety…

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And the world of a deck hand… or a deckie as they are called.

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And Up to the Bridge

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Where there is a lot to see…

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And a lot to be seen…

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And someone, who doesn’t ever get to be in charge, had the opportunity to take control…

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Neighbouring vessels remained in tact… and we managed to extricate ourselves from the Captain’s domain without incident…

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Dinner is Served

A big concern for my kids was the food situation, isn’t it always (!!!), and feeding 400 people a day, everyday… puts our own thirty meals a day firmly in their place. We had a peak at the bakery,

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And a look at the cafeteria,

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And a glance at the menu… which received the stamp of approval from the gang. I have to say that I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that I don’t have to do the grocery shopping for this… I just can’t even begin to imagine it…

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The Book Fair

And this is the reason that most folk visit the ship… an enormous book store packed with books at really affordable prices. Thousands and thousands of books…

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You will have to spend some time browsing…

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There is a coffee shop and stories and entertainment to help you recover… and lots of super friendly volunteers ready to help you and tell you about life on board ship.

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And some very happy book shoppers!!!

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Quick Facts About the Logos Hope

You can take a virtual tour of the ship here. And any questions about the ship and the task that they do you can read about here. And if that isn’t enough, these articles of celebrating 40 years of OM Ships are fascinating reads, especially this one, which includes dozens of recipes.

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So if you are heading for the Waterfront over the next week or so, then pop down to the Logos Hope for a visit… a really interesting outing that will have any of your young potential world travelers very excited about their future.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Cape Town · Outings · Sunday Snippet

Se7en’s Visits Kirstenbosch and the Winter Wonderland Programme… And A GiveAway…

July 7th, 2016 · 12 Comments

I keep saying there is a fantastic holiday programme on at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens at the moment, I keep saying the gardens are free to children… in other words you can take your kids and their friends… I keep saying this!!! This past week our kids have had an absolute blast at Kirstenbosch and I wanted to share this with you before the holidays slide by and you have missed it all…

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Kirstenbosch’s Birthday

It was a cold rainy day and the gardens turned 103 years old… we went for a romp in the rain, honestly the gardens are good whatever the weather. If it really is pouring with rain you can head for the conservatory… but for the most part at Cape Town’s winter showers there are sets in the garden where you can wait out a little rain and when the sun emerges again you can head off.

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The Winter Wonders Program

Apart from the gardens being free for children, there are a number of fantastic events on. This is certainly not the time to stay home because it is cold and wintry. A number of book events, because every body loves books… brought to you by Struik Nature Books, and a number of events bright to you by Kirstenbosch themselves. We haven’t been able to go every day… but if we could have we would have. Read on read on…

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The events include arty crafty things, treasure hunts and a collection of South Africa’s best loved children’s natural factual authors reading their stories at “meet-the-author” events. From our own experience, there is nothing like meeting an author to create a passion for books in a child. You can download the full programme here. Honestly Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Struik Nature (Penguin Random House South Africa) have put together a stunning programme for children these holidays, really beautifully presented, well planned and something not to be missed… I have posted heaps of photos on Flickr, you are welcome to take a look around.

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Snake Encounters

The first event that we joined was a snake encounter with Johan Marais, the author a number of snake and reptile books in South Africa, including the Complete Guide to Snakes and What Snake is that?

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He was happy to field dozens of questions and provide us with lots of incredible facts…

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Then he went on to show us a few of the snakes he had brought along to show everyone…

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And then everybody had a chance to meet up and play with the snakes that he brought with him. I was astonished to discover that while I preferred to be on the other side of the camera, my kids were thrilled at the chance to get to meet the snakes up close and personally.

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In fact one of us actually loved the whole event… and we had a long discussion about snakes being wild animals and best we leave them there.

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Head over to the Struik Nature Website and you can download a very useful printable guide to South African snakes.


Winter Wonder Family Treasure Hunts

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On Saturday mornings, throughout the winter school holidays, they have a series of themed, family friendly treasure hunts. We decided to try them out and we were so impressed… what a difference it makes to have knowledgable and enthusiastic guides to show you around the gardens. We always learn something new when we visit there, but my word with an engaging guide we learnt so much more…

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There are four different treasure hunts to follow… flowers, streams and rivers, trees and the (in case of rain) the conservatory… Our friendly guide took us off on the tree trail, and as we learnt about a number of weird and wonderful trees we also traversed the gardens…

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Taking a little longer at each tree meant that we spotted things that we don’t often see…

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We discovered delightful hidden trails that we didn’t know existed…

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Can we say “Cool Bananas!!!”

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And it takes seventeen kids to hug this tree…

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So many weird and wonderful trees to stop and look at or even listen to, yes one tree you can hear making little snaps as you stand beneath it. Each tree was presented with a bit of a story to help you remember what you had learnt… really a brilliant presentation.

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And always good a wander over the boomslang walkway…

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And everytime we pause on the walkway and take a breathe, we spot something magical…

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We learnt about all sorts of trees, including these magnificent ancient trees…

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The whole event literally flew past… we covered a lot of ground, but all at a very easy “chatting as you go” pace.

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I love that they understood that kids need to stop and linger longer sometimes, and stopped especially at the perfect climbing tree…

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Struik Nature Find 50 Treasure

Another Winter Wonder Program, brought to us by Struik Nature event we attended on Monday made full use of the Find 50 Guide Kirstenbosch Guide… A genuine treasure hunt with fantastic prizes for everyone who took part.

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The idea was that the you head out into the gardens and find twenty five of the items off the list of fifty… take a photograph of the team with their discovery… and dash on. It wasn’t as easy as you might think… finding an ant is actually a little tricky and trying to get a bird with your gang in the picture – well impossible!!! This is an activity that would be fun to do with your kids or a group of friends anytime…

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Monday turned out to be the absolute perfect day for adventuring. It may have started with everyone in sweaters, but very quickly the sun warmed us up, in the middle of winter we were dashing around in t-shirts gathering treasures on camera…

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Finding 50 GiveAway

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We had such fun at the Finding 50 Treasure Hunt that we thought we would share a set of these fun guides with a lucky reader…

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Essentially, they are spotters guides for beginners… 50 things to find, in a fold out pamphlet and a check box to tick when you have found them. Inside the cover of the pamphlets are some fun and interesting facts for those fact collectors amongst us. These are a great resource and fun for everyone…

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We have a set of Spotter’s Guides, thanks to Struik Nature (Penguin Random House South Africa) to give to one of our readers somewhere in the world. All you have to do to stand a chance of winning is leave a comment, before the end of play on Saturday 16 July, and tell us what plants or animals you and your children like to spot, wherever you are in the world.

We will draw and publish the winners in the Fabulous Fun Post after the 16 July. I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because I don’t want to be included in our own giveaway. Our GiveAways are open to everyone: If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. If you live on the far side of the world – enter away. Postage takes forever from here but eventually it should get to you! Good luck and happy commenting!!!

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Previous Kirstenbosch Posts

  1. Se7en+1 Reasons to Visit Kirstenbosch Right Now…
  2. Se7en+1 Set Out As Citizen Scientists in the Fynbos…
  3. Se7en + 1 Meet the Dinosaurs Amongst the Cycads at Kirstenbosch…
  4. Se7en + 1 Discover the Boomslang at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens…
  5. Adventure Trails in Kirstenbosch.
  6. Kirstenbosch’s Winter Wonder Program.
  7. Kirstenbosch and the Braille Trail…
  8. Kirstenbosch for kids…

We would like to thank the publishers Struik Nature and Penguin Random House South Africa who supplied us with the spotter’s guides to giveaway. Also, thank you to Hippo Communications for organising free entrance to the Gardens for myself, so that I could attend these events and bring them to our readers. This was not a sponsored post and all opinions are as usual my own.

→ 12 CommentsTags: Cape Town · GiveAways and Swaps · Outings · Saturday Spot

Se7en Journeys to Africa with the Read the World Book Club…

July 5th, 2016 · 7 Comments

Last week we introduced our readers to the Read the World Book Club… and for the next couple of weeks we are going to be posting a pile of our favourite books from each continent… and you are welcome to join us on our journey. This week our book journey takes us to Africa…

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Welcome to Africa

Africa is a continent very dear to us, our family were all born under an African sky… traveling in Africa is an experience that is hard to believe, it is a place with a wide open spaces, challenges that are beyond challenging… Africa tends to teach you a lot about your heart… and because of that, people love it here. It is a part of the world that is worth exploring, a part of the world that remains so foreign to most folk that is is hard to imagine going there… but if get the chance then head out… your heart will be changed forever and it will be so worth it.

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So we are ready for a little virtual voyaging in Africa… our puzzle is out, the kids have pulled out a couple of Africa books and we are really good to go…


Travels in Africa

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Morocco

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Lesotho

A couple of years back we took a trip to Lesotho… and you can read all about it here. The thing about traveling is that wherever you go things can be quite different to home, but that being said a lot of things will never change… friendly faces, children playing and laundry of course.

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Zambia


Our Favourite Books from Africa


Actual Factual Books

Serengeti: Natural Order on the African Plain by Mitsuaki Iwago: This is a coffee table book and really a photographic experience of a year on the African Plains and the animals that live on the Serengeti. There is life and death, and the daily drama… From frogs to zebra, hippos to impala… and of course the annual migration. Beautiful, beautiful book… if you are looking for the feel of the African plains then this would be the book of choice.

This is a large coffee table book, small people literally have to lie on it to explore the page they are looking at. There is something to read about every single country… the best places to visit, ow to get there and how to do the things you would like to do while yo are there. And of course it is an Atlas… so detailed maps to explore. This is a fabulous book for folk that love exploring and going on adventures…

This is a collection of three books in one… each book looks at a different natural environment in Africa. A ranger takes you for a wander through the book, on a river safari, a desert safari and a bush veld safari. These books are packed with fabulous nature study activities… there is so much natural factual information and things to do in the pages of these books. All about spotting wildlife, the plants and animals… how to survive, how to track and recognise wildlife. My kids have literally worn this book out more than once.

This is a fabulous goto book, a great resource for all things Africa, we return to it again and again. It provides a look at living in Africa, and provides heaps of hands on projects to keep the reader interested and engaged as they wander along. This book takes a look at the rich cultural diversity that is Africa, wealth and poverty, rural and urban, living alongside each other. This is a book that I dip into with my kids, there is some gritty real life issues in a couple of places that older students should be aware of, but for my middle schoolers and below I do edit as I read. The projects reflect the people and cultures that they represent and provide a great mix of activities.


Folklore and Poetry

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This is on of my younger kids’ favourite books ever, I wrote about how it inspired them here.


Picture Books…


A Kite’s Flight by William Gumede, illustrated by Maja Sereda: This is the story of Andile, who is a little boy that lives in Cape Town. He makes a kite with his Papa. The wind lifts the kite into the sky… and the kite flies across Africa and a number of landmarks on the way… over grasslands, over jungle and over the Sahara desert. the kite flies all the way to a little boy called Ahmed in Egypt, who together with his Papa, plan to fix the weather worn kite, so that the kite will be ready for another journey.

For cross-cultural picture books Barefoot Books can’t be beat… and these books by Laurie Krebs are part of a round the world series and are fabulous… they have a rhythm and rhyme… and joy to them that is uplifting. These are books that you and your children are going to want to read again and again.


This book is delightful… and demonstrates the generosity of hospitality that we have found all over Africa… it doesn’t matter how little you have, you still invite everyone over. The back of the book has a couple of interesting facts and a map (vital for young map lovers) and a recipe. We had to adjust the recipe a little when we made them, as we doubled and tripled and quadrupled the recipe… the great thing about this recipe is the yummy spices inside them… gotta love!!!


Easy Chapter Books

Anna Hibiscus is pure delight, set in modern day Africa. The story of a little girl whose family and extended family enjoy life in a village, except for her mother’s family who live in far off Canada. The author presents some delightful chaos that naturally happens when living in a full and multigenerational household. The stories celebrate life in a village in Africa and the joy and sweet attitude of Anna makes these books a great place to escape. Once you read one Anna Hibiscus story you will want to read them all… these are the kind of stories that you just want to climb into.

By the same author as Anna Hibiscus, meet the delightful character No 1, who lives in a village “somewhere” in Africa. He is called No 1 because he lives on the main road into town and so gets to hear cars going past and is always the first to identify a car going by, from the sound of the engine. This is a game we used to play as kids, “spot the car just by listening.” Anyway, No 1 gets into a number of boyish scrapes and does his fair share of getting into and out of trouble. All the while the reader gets to learn about life in a very different culture, with different family values, different food… and really a different world to the one they live in.

These are on our wish list… and come highly recommended. The ever popular No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexandar McMcall Smith now has a prequel for young readers and we meet our detective, Precious Ramotswe, as a child. Her father provides mysteries for her to solve If you have a child that loves mysteries then I have a feeling that they are going to love these…


Chapter Books

This book is a family favourite, and the author tells his own story. It is about his life journey, from the plains of Africa as a Massai cattle herd, to the world of medical school in the United States. It begins with the antics of life as a young boy, part of a nomadic family and his responsibility to look after the family wealth, their cattle. At the time, every family had to send one child to school… and he tells of his life at school… and how difficult it was. The memoir continues with him as he grows up… Despite going to college and university in the United States, he still returns to his family and his roots for a couple of months each year… and even this provides some amusing incidents with tourists visiting his village. I read this inspiring book as an adult and could not put it down, it provides a deep insight into a life that most of us cannot begin to imagine.

This story is not just incredible because it says so on the cover or because it is true, it is a really rather epic story because most of us don’t really believe in miracles. We are wrong of course. This is the story of a boy who reaches rock bottom, living on the streets in Zimbabwe. He was abandoned by his mother at a very young age and has to fend for himself… and his two younger siblings. Poverty is the least of his worries… An astonishing event when he is twenty turns his whole life around. This book is the junior version of Out of the Black Shadows, it is an astonishing read and a story of hope and encouragement for all of us. We highly recommend this book and certainly all my kids will read it sometime during their school career.

This book is a must read, spoiler alert there is a tragedy within the pages, but learning about coping with tragedy within the safety of the pages of a book is bot a bad thing, per se. This is the story of Solomon, a village boy who loves to run… you can feel the dust between your toes as you read this book… it is beautifully written and will leave you feeling like you have been on a journey there. this is one of those books that will take Africa from being just “a place on a map” to a place rich with people, with passion and hopes and dreams.


Previous Posts in this Series

Se7en Are Off on a Book Voyage

You are welcome to join the club… and if you do post on instagram use the #Giveyourchildtheworld

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Follow se7en_hoods’s board Se7en At School on Pinterest.

→ 7 CommentsTags: Brilliant Books · Geography · Se7en at School

Se7en’s Fabulous Fun Post #322

July 3rd, 2016 · 2 Comments

From a cold and wintry Cape Town, we spent last week hiking just to keep warm… the patch of tepid sunlight doesn’t seem to be doing the job lately and there are blankets everywhere. It is school holidays over here… which means busy, busy, busy… If you are looking for something to do then look no further than here: Se7en’s Winter Holiday Season Suggestions…

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Lovely Links from This Week

  1. 11 Camping Recipes on Imagine Childhood.
  2. My Favourite Childhood Author has a lot to say about libraries in the Guardian: Susan Cooper: Libraries are the frontline in the war for the imagination.
  3. Travel inspiration from Alison Chino: I think I need a trip to Italy… and while I am there… I am taking a hike along the Cinque Terre.
  4. Parenting Around the World on A Cup of Jo… and 18 Surprising Things about Parenting in Thailand.
  5. Plastic Free July… it’s a thing. You can actually do it!!!
  6. The Difference Between a Sin and a Mistake Do You Know the Difference? by Michael Hyatt
  7. Play by the Book is a marvel at non-fiction for kids: Let’s do something to celebrate children’s non-fiction!
  8. Stunning, stunning, stunning: Make a Box Worth Keeping on Handmade Charlotte.
  9. A Parenting Post of Note from the Alpha Mom: Raising Kids, Growing Veggies – It’s all kind of the same.


A Blast From the Past:

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In Case You Missed it Last Week and the Week Before…

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is absolutely free for kids during the school holidays, you do have to buy a ticket for the accompanying adults though. They have a fantastic kids program for families… I’ll say it again… it is absolutely free. You can download the entire Winter Wonders 2016 Programme on the Kirstenbosch website.

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Programme printed with permission of StruikNature.

Thank you to Hippo Communications who have provided me with free entrance to Kirstenbosch, for the duration of the holidays… I will be bringing you a post about the holiday activities later in the week…

That’s us… Hope you all have a fabulous week!!!

→ 2 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

Book of the Week: Se7en Discover Owls and Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise…

July 3rd, 2016 · 2 Comments

Sometimes a book cries out for a little craftiness, not to mention a little actual factual discovery. Introducing the new book: Hoot Owl Master of Disguise, by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullian.

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About the Book

This is the story of Hoot Owl, who is very hungry and flying through the night looking for something to eat. Now Hoot Owl has a very special talent, he is the Master of Disguise… and the story builds him up to be a great hunter with a particularly sharp beak. Hoot Owl observes a sweet rabbit, a tasty rabbit… and he is going to surprise the rabbit with his cunning disguise. And the tension builds… and (spoiler alert) he dresses up as a carrot. The rabbit is oblivious and walks away. After all the tension and the build up…”Nevermind.” Needless to say Hoot Owl is famished and the story provides a few potential victims. Each new victim presents the Master of Disguise, who is convinced that he can capture anything at all, dressing in a couple of somewhat less than masterful disguises. After more than one or two fails, he eventually tries to hunt a pizza… at least a pizza can’t run away. This book is funny, there are several twists and surprises. Hoot Owl’s subtle humility (not) and continuous understated failure leads the reader to pity him and his somewhat pathetic disguises. Ultimately he does conquer his prey and the world can sleep safely until Hoot Owl is hungry again. I had to read this book several times in a row, and then several nights in a row too. My guys loved it, because it is much cleverer than it first appears, you have to read the words and dwell on them somewhat. It has listening appeal, because it doesn’t quite rhyme… you are drawn to listen more carefully. There are some wonderful comparisons through out the book… “The night is as black as burnt toast,” and great use of descriptive words… “the enormousness of the night. This is a read again and again book and bound to be a classic. We can highly recommend that you follow the links and take a listen to Sean Taylor reading his Hoot Owl.


How to make your own Owl in Se7en+1 Steps

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  1. Cut an oval owl shape from a cardboard box.
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  3. Colour your owl, either paint it, or like we did, use some coloured paper to cover your owl.
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  5. Cut out a pair of wings and feet… just fold your paper over when you are snipping and you will only have to cut them out once… And attach them.
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  7. Outline your owl with a big black marker and add some features.
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  9. Ooops we forgot some big owlish eyes!!!
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  11. Not to worry, eyes are pretty easy…
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  13. And we were done…
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  15. We had a parliament of owls… that’s a collection of owls if you need to know.
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Se7en + 1 Amazing Owl Actual Factuals.

We realised that we didn’t know much about our owls, and when you live with a couple of nature lovers, the first thing you do is quickly dive in and learn as much as you can…

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A Nature NoteBooking Page in the Making.

  1. Fun Facts about Owls from Audubon and more Fun Facts on Science Kids.
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  3. Barn Owls and Pellets… and a Virtual Owl Pellet Dissection.
  4. Ranger Rick has heaps of interesting factoids about Owls. And a whole lot more about Snowy Owls.
  5. The Barn Owl Trust has a list of fabulous Barn Owl Crafts… right down to making Owl Pellet Truffles and a Beautiful Owl Mobile.
  6. On All About Birds: A List of North American Owls, heaps of details on how to identify them, their habitats and their sounds.
  7. The Owl Pages has a page full of Owl Calls and Sounds. They also have a list of Owl Myths from around the World (interesting but not all of them are child friendly).
  8. How to Make a Nest Box…
  9. Imagine Childhood has some of the most beautiful nature related goodies ever: Here’s an Owl Whistle, Owl Mobile, and Paper Cut Outs Birds of Prey.


Hoot Owl Fun

Our well disguised Hoot Owls went for a romp in the garden:

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They quickly realised that they need a better disguise…

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Unlike the Hoot Owl in the story, they were able to disguise their “owls really well:”

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The Amazing Alphabet Owl

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The Fabulous Floral Owl

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And the Ninja Nightshade Owl

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And one of the owls is actually really good at his disguise… can you see him there?


Previous Picture Book Party Posts

This post forms part of The Picture Book Party with PanMacmillan South Africa.


Thank you so much to PanMacmillan South Africa for the copy of Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise for review purposes and the invitation to join the Picture Book Party. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to create it and the opinions expressed are, as usual, our own.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Book Crafts · Brilliant Books · Reviews · Tuesday Art Task

Se7en’s July And Your Free Printable Calendar…

July 1st, 2016 · No Comments

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Can you believe it is July already. Welcome to our calendar post… At the beginning of each month we print out a new calendar, just click on the calendar and it will open in a new window, ready to print (print it using Landscape it just works better). Then we read through the blog post and pick the days that we would like to celebrate. We write those days out onto our calendar and pop the calendar onto the fridge. On the particular date we visit the website and have a look at the links or create a fun post for our blog.

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If you would like to now more about how we use our calendar for school as a fabulous resource of famous people and events then do pop over to the Almanac page for an explanation… Meanwhile, we hope you have a jolly July!!!

  • 1 July: Scarecrow Day
  • 1 July: Canada Day
  • 1 July 1863: Battle of Gettysburg (1-3 July 1863).
  • 1 July: International Joke Day
  • 2 July 1900: First Zeppelin Flew (1900).
  • 2 July 1937: Amelia Earhart disappeared (1937).
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  • 3 July 1937: International Plastic Bag Free Day.
  • 4 July 1776: American Day of Independence (1776).

  • 7 July 1883: Pinocchio first printed (1883).
  • 7 July: Macaroni Day.
  • 7 July: Star Festival Day (Japan)
  • 8 July: Liberty Bell Cracks.
  • 9 July: Sugar Cookie Day – Here is a list of our cookie recipes.
  • 10 July: Teddy Bears Picnic Day.
  • 11 July 1899: E.B. White’s Birthday (1899 – 1995).
  • 11 July: SkyLab fell to the Earth.
  • 12 July 1960: Etch a Sketch Introduced.

  • 12 July: Paper Bag Day.
  • 13 July: National French Fry Day (U.S.A).
  • 13 July: Bon fest and Feast of Lanterns (Japan).
  • 13 July: Puzzle Day.
  • 14 July: Bastille Day.
  • 15 July 1954: First Boeing 707.
  • 15 July 1606: Rembrandt Van Rijn’s Birthday (1606 – 1928).
  • 16 July 1969: Apollo 11 lifts off.
  • 16 July 1872: Roald Amundsen born (1872 – 1928).
  • 17 July 1955: Disneyland opened.

  • 18 July 1918: Nelson Mandela’s Birthday.
  • 18 July: Cow Appreciation Day.
  • 18 July: Nadia Comaneci scored the first perfect 10 in the Olympic Games (1976).
  • 18 July: National Ice-Cream Day (U.S.A.).
  • 20 July: Chess Day.
  • 20 July: Ice Cream Soda Day.
  • 20 July 1969: First Moon Landing.
  • 21 July 1899: Ernest Hemingway Birthday (1899 – 1961).
  • 21 July: National Junk Food Day (U.S.A.).
  • 22 July 1284: Pied Piper Arrived in Hamelin.
  • 22 July 1898: Alexander Calder’s Birthday (1898 – 1976).
  • 23 July 1888: Pneumatic Tires Invented.
  • 23 July 1904: Ice Cream Cones Introduced.
  • 23 July: Mosquito Day.
  • 24 July: Celebrate the End of the Tour de France.
  • 24 July 1783: Simon Bolivar’s Birthday.
  • 24 July: Amelia Earhart Birthday
  • 25 July: F.B.I. Created.
  • 27 July 1940: Bugs Bunny Debut (1940).
  • 28 July 1866-1943: Beatrix Potter’s Birthday (1866 – 1943) .
  • 28 July: First Finger Prints.
  • 29 July: Lasagna Day.
  • 29 July 1958: NASA Established (1958).
  • 30 July: Cheese Cake.
  • 30 July 1818: Emily Bronte’s Birthday (1818).
  • 31 July 1965: J.K. Rowling’s Birthday (1965).
  • Hope you have a great July…

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