04 October, 2007

IBBY SA Honour List

IBBY SA has announced that the following books have been selected as IBBY SA’s Honour List to be presented at the IBBY World Congress in Copenhagen in 2008 as having made a significant contribution to recent South African literature for children and young people: Author: Afrikaans Jaco Jacobs: Suurlemoen (LAPA Uit-gewers, Pretoria, 2006) Jaco Jacobs het hier daarin geslaag om op oortuigende wyse ’n regte, egte tiener-verhaal te vertel. Die sestienjarige Tiaan Fourie, saam met sy ‘partner in crime’, die baskitaarspeler en moeillkheidmaker Zane le Roux, word aangemoedig om hulle band vir die Rumoer-kompetisie in te skryf deur die musiekonderwyser. Hulle kry uiteindelik toe ’n vocalist en ’n drummer. Jaco Jacobs het ’n lewendige, vermaaklike en genuine jeugverhaal geskep met genoeg opwinding en humor en ’n sterk spanningselement om jong lesers te vermaak. Die karakters is werklik tieners; die styl lig, gemaklik en onderhoudend. Jaco Jacobs word geluk gewens met ’n oortuigende leesbare en toeganklike jeugverhaal. Author: isiXhosa Mhlobo Jadezweni: UTshepo mde / Tall enough (Electric Book Works, Cape Town, 2006) Tshepo is a boy who wishes he was as tall as a beautiful tree. He plants himself in the ground, waters himself, and magically grows into one. But, as a tree, he soon comes to realise why it’s good to be a little boy, at least for now. Told in isiXhosa, and accompanied by an English translation, this book is about the worries of growing up and belonging. The story is funny, poignant and surprising, and fuses the mythical and the domestic in a quintessentially African fairytale. (from the publisher’s information sheet) Author: English K Sello Duiker: The Hidden Star (Umuzi Books Random House, Cape Town, 2006) (posthumously) K Sello Duiker’s last novel, edited after his death by publisher Annari van der Merwe as a tribute to her friend and author, is something of a milestone for South African literature for young people. Eleven-year-old Nolitye takes upon herself the quest to bring together again the separated pieces of a magic stone that will both reveal and heal. So, yes, this is a fantasy story every bit as much as any in the great classic tradition, but the achievement lies in this fantasy being embedded in a uniquely South African reality: every taste, sound, sight and smell in the novel smacks of South Africa, and, specifically, of Phola township in Gauteng. Its authenticity is unassailable. We are the poorer for the loss of a talent such as Sello’s; but South African literature for young people is undeniably the richer for the survival of The Hidden Star. Translator: Russell H Kaschula: Emthonjeni trans-lated into isiXhosa from his own English Take Me to the River (New Africa Books, Cape Town, 2006) Professor Kaschula has earned the respect of isiXhosa-speakers in the academic world; and he now adds to the small but growing body of stories in isiXhosa for young teenagers. Chance and the recent history of South Africa make the young black boy Zama and the young coloured boy Pieter next-door neighbours. But they make their friendship themselves. And it is the kind of friendship that proves it can withstand a number of severe tests and challenges. The author is unafraid of tackling social issues that are potentially controversial – and even divisive. He skilfully harnesses them to serve his theme of individual human bonds bringing and keeping people together. Illustrator: Anneliese Voigt-Peters: Ouma Ruby’s Secret by Chris van Wyk (Giraffe Books Pan Macmillan,Johannesburg, 2006) This story is taken from Chris van Wyk’s memoir about growing up in Riverlea in Johannesburg, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. He has rewritten, for a young audience, a story about his beloved grandmother Ruby. One day he meets his Ouma in town and she buys him two books. For her birthday two weeks later, he writes a letter which he wants her to read out. She makes the excuse that she does not have her glasses with her. His mother takes him aside and quietly tells him that Ouma Ruby cannot read. This gentle, very real story is sensitively illustrated in fine watercolours by Anneliese Voigt-Peters. Her images capture the essence of the neighbourhood and houses and the extended family inhabiting the boy’s world. A book to be treasured as a fine example of how an illustrator who knows her material and the environment in which the story takes place can produce illustrations typically South African in a quiet reassuring manner. She is highly applauded for this little gem of a book. Taken from Lona Gericke's article in the IBBY SA Newsletter No 45, October 2007.

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