Over the years I have really enjoyed celebrating Heritage Month with pile of great South African reads, this year I thought I would focus on our Natural Heritage. There are some great books out showcasing our African routes and our natural heritage…
These books are created for curious kids, and have loads of kid and adult appeal… they are perfect for parents to read alongside their kids and for discovering amazing facts, and dreaming about adventures together. Let’s take a look…
This is just the most delightful collection of poems and illustrations. If you loved Fynbos Fairies, that came out a while back, then you are going to love this, possibly even more. Every page has the most exquisite illustration, absolutely packed with tiny details and a poem to match. I love that there are little details throughout this book, for example the scientific name of each plant is printed on the page… and yet for all the details the book is a restful read.
From living stones, to the green pearl fairy, from the thorn-aloe elf to the fan-aloe elf… this book is magical. It lilts, it is peaceful and would make the most perfect gift for artistic nature lovers of all ages.
Protect Our Planet: Take Action with Romario
This is a fantastic book about a young eco-warrior, who is out to change the world. It is packed with ideas of things to do, projects he has been involved with and more than that… Inspiration!!! Bright photographs on every single spread, illustrations to explain more, word bubbles, short sharp paragraphs for young readers.
This book is fantastic, while it has a global appeal with its picture rich, large, glossy format, it is written in the South African context. Photographs of local places to visit, local birds and beasts, local organisations. Representation in books is key to kids feeling like they can belong, the #localislekker feel of this book, makes it an absolute winner.
It is filled with facts… pages about eco-systems and natural resources, animal activism and backyard biodiversity. I love that mixed in with all the facts there are fun projects for kids to do, with stuff you would have around your home; How to attract birds and bugs into your backyard; Thoughts and ideas about climate change and pollution; Beach cleanup stories and ideas… loads to think about and crafty projects to create from your own recycling.
This book is very positive, introducing the Great Green Wall of Africa and then suggesting that you plant a tree, and if not a tree an easy vegetable garden or windowsill herb garden.
There is everything that would interest a young eco-warrior in this book, right down to special days to celebrate like Frog Day (20 March) or World Orca Day (14 July). This book has been very carefully thought out, right down to the glossary, which has a word search of terms to discover.
My kids loved this book, I love this book… it is extremely giftable and firmly on our list of best books of the year.
The World Of African Wildlife: A Safari Guide for Young Explorers
Another fabulous nature study book from Struik Nature, where ever you are in the world, if you are going to be learning about African Animals in your homeschool, then this one is for you.
The book includes pages and pages of stunning double page spreads, all about African Wildlife… from the Big Five to the Little Five… from the plains to your garden.
Different ecosystems are explored, day time and night time, there is even a section on the weird and wonderful trees of Africa, because where would our wildlife be without our trees.
On almost every page there are activities to do, puzzles to tackle, and things to ponder. This book has some of the most incredible wildlife photographs ever. Honestly, I love this book it is absolutely packed with facts, there is something brand new and incredible on every page. There are puzzles to keep young readers engaged… matching games, word puzzles, quizzes… this book is amazing. It’s fun, it is packed with facts and an absolute gem!!! Really this is a five star read!!!
My First African Adventure
So Riann Manser is a South African Explorer/Adventurer… one of his first adventures was to cycle around the entire continent of Africa, from country to country – up hill and down dale, from desert to jungle and back again. He cycles his way through 34 countries, from South Africa to Guinea, to Morocco, through Somalia and Mozambique and many more in-between.
This book is richly illustrated and well illustrated! Each country gets: A fact page with the flag, languages, capital, national animal, fabulous foods and so on; followed by a story with great cartoon illustrations about an event that happened in that country. Some of these stories are incredibly wild, truly reflecting the adventure Riaan was on, they make for great reading. Also, a book for the modern child… There is an excellent addition to the book: a QR code for each country, which takes the reader to a page with photographs, videos and an audio version of the story.
The adventures in each country make gripping reading for young adventurers… this book is excellent for adventurous young reads, and would be a great book for homeschoolers who wanted to read about a different country in Africa each week, for example. From volcanoes to wild animal encounters, to weird and wonderful feasts and making friends wherever he went… You can read more about Riaan’s amazing adventures on his website, here. I love the mix of wild story, that are true (!!!) and facts… it feels like this book should be read around a campfire. Enjoy it… it is a glorious celebration of the rich orchestra of all that is Africa.
Quick ID Guides: Primates and Carnivores
Last year I published a post abut how we use the Quick ID Guides from Struik Nature in our homeschool, for nature study, and they have brought out two more. Primates and Carnivores have been added to the collection and they are great…
This is a great little book for learning more about primates in Africa. Each page is dedicated to a different primate, with a distribution map and a block of information, followed by fully colour photographs and a couple of more detailed paragraphs about their behaviour, habits, habitats and other pertinent information.
Interestingly enough, in our area there is only one primate and that is the Chacma baboon… these are very special baboons they live along our coast and eat shellfish.
And the other new addition is the book on Carnivores… my goodness when you think of carnivores in Africa, you immediately think of the BIG Cats, and possibly dogs… but there are dozens more and in our area. The Cape Clawless Otter, Mongooses and one we would dearly to spot, the Caracal.
This little book also has colour photographs, fact boxes and paragraph snippets of useful information. I love that the information is just enough to satisfy any quick questions while out in the wild and just enough to peak curiosity to take a look into the larger than backpack size guidebook when you are back home.
Nellie en Sion Thwala
This is a story written in Afrikaans, about a small boy called Sion and his nanny, Nellie. Nellie has been his constant companion through his four years and has taught him all that he knows, little songs and poems and the rhythm of life. Nellie is wonderfully knowledgeable about the natural surroundings, she knows all sorts of knowledge about things like making little milk tarts.
One day they go on an adventure together and they are talking about great adventurers … and all the while it is a story of how when he grows up he can be anything he dreams of. Meanwhile, on their adventure they are discovering interesting things in the local stream and I just love the checklist of local birds and pond creatures in the back of the book, as well as a place to draw their own pictures and observations.
There is a lovely little section on dragonflies… with a few facts about dragonflies. You can see our dragon fly craft here and read about a great Dragonfly Field Guide in this post here.