Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Books and Learning Activities for South AfricaThis post has been refreshed in June 2014 with new graphics and resource section. Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate and this post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure, please click here and thank you for supporting my blog!

Reading Around the World

We have started introducing our daughter to different cultures since she was about 3 years old. Over years, we read about many different countries trying to encourage daughter to pick a country of her choice when she got older. You are welcome to check out other posts in Read Around the World series:

Books About South Africa

We participated in an international postcard exchange and received a card from Capetown, South Africa. It prompted Smarty to pick South Africa as a read around the world country. Finding books proved to be a little different, but I want to share two that I was able to get from our library system.
South African night

A South African Night by Rachel Isadora is a good book for younger readers and kids who love animals. The book transitions from an evening in the big city to a busy animal night life in Kruger National Park. I have to admit that my 5 year old likes stories with more “meat”, and this book has very sparse text. The story is told mostly in gorgeous illustrations, but Smarty prefers words to pictures and didn’t care for this book much.
Safari in South Africa
While the first book “flopped for us”, the second one turned out to be the winner. Smarty absolutely loved was Safari in South Africa from Adventures of Riley series by Amanda Lumry and Laura Hurwitz. The book is illustrated with drawn characters super imposed on photos, and my 5 year old just couldn’t get enough of both the story and the illustrations. In addition to an engaging story about animal conservation, there are also non-fictional inserts on every page describing interesting facts about every animal. For example, I didn’t know that leopard is the quietest of all cats or that hippos kill more humans than any other African animal.

A Simple African Mask Craft

Making an African mask
A good extension activity for both books would be something to do with animals, but I also wanted to introduce a bit of African culture to Smarty. We looked at African masks online, and then she selected an African mask to color and cut from Printable African Masks. I printed it on printer paper and glued it to cardboard to make it sturdier. Smarty chose a lion mask first, but decided that it required too much coloring and asked to color the more abstract mask that I chose. Then we spent some time outside chasing each other and putting up “an African show” for papa. I hope we can go to South Africa one day “for real” – I never knew that it’s such an amazing place until I “visited” it virtually with Smarty.
African Masks

More South African Activities

Follow my Pinterest board Geography

Your Turn

When you think about South Africa, what activity comes to your mind for this country?

7 comments:

MaryAnne K said...

I love discovering the world through my children! I'll have to look for a copy of that book to read with my kids!

Have you seen the blog "Mud Hut Mama" (http://www.mudhutmama.com/)? She lives in the middle of the African bush (Malawi) with two daughters. Very fascinating place to live!

Kelly said...

I love that she is picking countries to study. The mask link is wonderful! Cute story about you mask too!
Kelly at Little Wonders' Days

Joyfulmama said...

Hi there from a very chilly Cape Town, South Africa! (Yep, it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere and we even had a few flurries of snow on Table Mountain yesterday!) I found your post via Pinterest, and since 2 of my children are close to your Smarty's age, I thought I ' d share some books about our country that they enjoy. Their favourite is The Song of Six Birds by Rene Deetlefs, and ANY book by local authour and illustrator Niki Daly (whom we had the pleasure of meeting last year!) His 'Jamela' books should appeal to your daughter, and 'The herd Boy' is also beautiful! Rachael Isadora wrote 2 othet books set in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa that are much wordier and with beautiful story lines: At the Crossroads, and Over the Green Hills. I do hope you will be able to visit our beautiful country one day!

Joyfulmama said...

Hi there from a very chilly Cape Town, South Africa! (Yep, it's winter in the Southern Hemisphere and we even had a few flurries of snow on Table Mountain yesterday!) I found your post via Pinterest, and since 2 of my children are close to your Smarty's age, I thought I ' d share some books about our country that they enjoy. Their favourite is The Song of Six Birds by Rene Deetlefs, and ANY book by local authour and illustrator Niki Daly (whom we had the pleasure of meeting last year!) His 'Jamela' books should appeal to your daughter, and 'The herd Boy' is also beautiful! Rachael Isadora wrote 2 othet books set in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa that are much wordier and with beautiful story lines: At the Crossroads, and Over the Green Hills. I do hope you will be able to visit our beautiful country one day!

Emma @ P is for Preschooler said...

South Africa has so many interesting animals. The second book looks like one I'd like too!

Mia said...

I love this Read Around the World series. My neighbor is from South Africa. I wonder if she knows any more books for kids. Thanks so much for sharing your great post at the Multicultural Children's Book Day linky!

Unknown said...

Thanks for participating in Multicultural Children's Book Day!