Gcina Mhlophe

Gcina Mhlophe

The South Africa Children’s Book Fair 2017 is set to happen at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg in Johannesburg from June 15-18, 2017. Some of the guests to feature include Philani Dladla, Nosipho Shabalala, Azrah Osman, Dr Gcina Mhlophe, James Murua and Cath Alexander.

In 2009, A Book for Every Child Foundation with Vuyokazi Biyana at the helm was founded in 2009 with the aim of bringing back the culture of reading. The foundation’s first project renovated and stocked up Igugu Primary School library in Mofolo South, Soweto with new books. In 2016, the foundation started on a new journey as they attempted to host South Africa’s first literary festival dedicated to children’s literature; unfortunately with the director and driving force Biyana being unwell it had to be rescheduled for 2017.

This year the festival, supported by the City of Ekurhuleni, promises big things. Its main aim is to promote and increase literacy levels in the South African country and foster the joy of reading in children. The next generation of readers will be encouraged to develop reading skills, enabling them to read and explore the wealth of information found in books.

The fair also intends for children book writers, publishers, illustrators especially those in disadvantaged areas to have their own platform where they can discuss challenges facing their market and find ways of expanding it to a wider network.

Apart from growing love of reading in the kids and giving industry players a platform, the festival is hoping to raise funds to enable the Foundation to execute its ultimate goal of building and renovating libraries in our community schools so they don’t have to depend on donors. This especially applies in primary school libraries in disadvantaged communities throughout the country.

So who will be featuring at the venue in Johannesburg in June? There will be publishers, writers, comic strip writers, illustrators, storytellers, librarians, suppliers of art board games and other equipment that is used for the development of children as well as other interested parties to participate in our inaugural children’s book fair.

Celebrated storyteller and children book writer Dr Gcina Mhlophe who we last saw giving the keynote address at the Abantu Book Festival will be one of the key participants. Also featuring will be Philani Dladla, author of the Pavement Bookworm who will lead motivational talks. Azrah Osman, a renowned illustrator will host workshops, introducing the children to the amazing world of illustrations.

Nosipho Shabalala

Nosipho Shabalala

Nosipho Shabalala will be launching her debut novel I want to touch the rainbow a book written for the age group 4 to 7 years at the festival. The book is a must have for every parent who has young kids. Another writer to feature will be Cath Alexander whose book Timothy’s Tomatoes is published by Porcupine Press. The book aimed at Grade 1 and 2 learners’ hopes to reach children in more disadvantaged schools, where literature is so desperately needed.

This year’s special guest is James Murua a journalist, writer and a blogger from Kenya renowned for being the leading blogger on the continent that writes about African Literature. He will be hosting book reviews, workshops, seminars and as well as being on panels.

Full details of the festival

Dates: June 15-18, 2017

Venue: Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg, Johannesburg

Entry fees

Parents (and young adults over 18): R50.00
Pensioners: R30.00
Teens: R20.00
Children under 13 years:
FREE Children should be in the company of adults at all times.

Tickets are available on line at Webtickets and at Pick n Pay stores. You can also get them at the festival official Facebook page or its official website.