WORD NERDS UNITE! We're bringing you a week of children's picture books
You guys should know by now that, here at The Great Equalizer, women empowerment floats our boat. It should therefore come as no surprise that, when we started noticing a lot of children’s book authors cropping up in the world of self-publishing – all female authors, mostly moms – our spidey sensies tingled and we got <ever-so-slightly> excited.
When we delved a bit further, we realised just how empowered the local bookish world is. Sisters in South Africa are certainly doing it for themselves, which is why we decided to assemble the author avengers and to showcase them on The Great Equalizer. We also teamed up with the lovely ladies from Love Books, in Melville, as well as Kids’ Book Club – a genius online subscription service that brings age-appropriate children’s books to your door.
Following our jam-packed bookish episode (which is ready and waiting for your listening pleasure), we’re bringing you A Week of Books and will showcase a bookish retailer or author a day, bringing you all the deets, as well as some giveaways from our partners.
Love Books in Melville, Johannesburg
First up is Melville-based independent book shop Love Books. And what is not to love and adore about this Joburg gem? Owned by the ever-so-elegant Kate Rogan (former producer of Jenny Crwys-Williams’ book show on 702) and managed by downright lovable mom of three, Anna Joubert, this shop feels like home. With coffee roasting at Service Station Cafe next door, and piles of carefully curated bestsellers, cult classics and lucky finds on display, it wasn’t hard to forget that we were actually there to talk children’s books.
That is, until we saw the shelves of kids’ picture flats colouring the walls of the children’s section.
Guys, when we say we’re in love with this shop, we’re not kidding. These aren’t your average picture books. There’s no Peppa Pig or Paw Patrol ‘adapted-from-the-TV-show’ tie-ins. Consumerism means nothing here. Kate and Anna accept only the best of the best for their shop and, when it comes to the picture flats, they intentionally purchase children’s literature. A lot of thought and care goes into every stock purchase. So how could you go wrong with their recommendations? In short, you can’t.
Here is a brief collation of some of Kate and Anna’s favourite picture flats:
1) Anything by Julia Donaldson (probably best known as author of The Gruffalo, but let me tell you that this woman is prolific and all her books are cherishable).
2) Anything by Oliver Jeffers. This children’s book author is highly acclaimed and has racked up quite the portfolio. Check out The Day the Crayons Quit (totes adorbs!) or The Way Back Home (for something a little more heartwarming).
3) Olivia by Ian Falconer. So flippen cute, guys! It’s a series, but the sequel to the first Olivia book (Olivia the Spy) is aimed at an older target market, almost as if your child gets to grow up with this lovable little character.
4) Owl Babies by Marten Waddle. A book about a mommy owl who has to leave the nest in search of sustenance. A perfect read for kids of working moms. So if you’re battling with a bit of separation anxiety, this good be a great therapy tool.
5) We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury takes you on a father’s journey with his four children. This one is great for the theatrical parent who loves to read aloud, sing and make sound effects. Can be a lot of fun!
6) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Timeless – an oldie but a goodie. It’s a non-negotiable classic on our bookshelf and the perfect gift for a particularly wild child.
7) The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp. Your kid’s first introduction to female empowerment (yaaasssss). Love this fresh take on what girls can accomplish if they set aside societal confines.
8) The Society of Distinguished Lemmings by Julie Colombet. A quirky and amusing little book that will not only teach your kids to celebrate their differences but also to be inclusive.
9) Home by Carson Ellis. Another treasure find that details how people live in different types of houses across different parts of the world. An introduction to celebrating diversity.
And for those of you with older kiddos in your life who may have just started reading to themselves, here’s a list of chapter book series from Anna that are sure to pique the big kids’ interests:
1) The Claude series by Alex T Smith details the adventures of a not-so-ordinary dog, Claude, and his best friend, Sir Bobblysock.
2) The Ottoline series by Chris Riddell is about a little girl and her best friend, Mr Munroe, who love to gather clues and solve mysteries.
3) The Princess in Black series Shannon and Dean Hale. This is another one that turns the princess stereotype on its head. Girl power didn’t die with the Spice Girls, people. Empower your girl-children from young.
4) The Anna Hibiscus series by Nigeria-born author Atinuke. A story about a little girl living in Africa and her many adventures. It’s family-oriented and showcases what life is like in an African village.
Another special mention:
Kate and her youngest teenaged daughter recently read Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation, which is pretty damn sweet.
In short, if you take anything away from this blog post, I sincerely hope it’s that you go pick the brains of the amazing women behind Love Books. All the books mentioned in this post can be found there. And if they’re out of stock Anna will be happy to place an order for you. SE-RI-OUS.
“Reading to a child is a very physical thing. If they’re sitting in your lap it’s bonding – you’re touching, you’re hugging, you’re feeling. There’s lot’s of stuff going on. You’re turning pages, and they’re learning so much. I think you must start doing it immediately. They don’t have to know what’s going on, they can feel it.”
– Kate Rogan, owner of Love Books
“‘Age-appropriate’ is a curse word when it comes to books for children. Don’t set your kids up for failure. If you’re 11 and still reading chapter books with pictures, that’s okay, you’re still reading.”
– Anna Joubert, manager of Love Books