From teaching, to writing for children, to writing for children
at school was a fairly logical process. I have been involved
with several educational reading and English schemes, including
the Sunny Day series (Maskew Miller Longman) and graded readers
for Macmillan (Hong Kong) contributions to English textbooks for
various publishers and readers for the UNICEF girl-child
education project Sara. I was series editor for the Stars of Africa series of supplementary readers (Maskew Miler Longman), which comprised over 170 graded readers. I was series editor for the Stars of Africa series of supplementary readers (Maskew Miler Longman), which comprised over 170 graded readers. I worked with Cambridge University Press on their Rainbow Readers, writing fifteen of the books at various levels. I am currently working on a reading project with Oxford University Press.
Parliamentary Millennium Project
In 2006 I was invited to be
part of the Parliamentary Millennium Project ‘Every Voice
Counts’ with the national newspaper Sunday Times. This involved
visiting schools in all nine provinces of South Africa and
working with Grade Sevens (12-year olds) to produce 27 short
books that reflect the voices, minds and hearts of South African
children. Working with an illustrator, we collated the ideas and
images into stories that are inserted into the Sunday Times
educational supplement. A total of 10.5 million books were distributed through the newspaper circulation, and
also through special projects delivering reading material to
schools that have few, or no books.
I was one of the founders
of the Village Schools Project in Nyae Nyae, Namibia, a pioneer
mother-tongue education project requested prior to Namibian
Independence by the Ju/'hoan San community there. I contributed
to the training and empowerment of young Ju/'hoan teachers,
especially through materials-development workshops and promotion
of enrichment reading.
Three books came from this
experience, all researched with Anthropologist Dr Megan Biesele:
Song of Be - award-winning novel for young adult
Waiting for Rain (with Megan Biesele) -
non-fiction combined with a story of life in a Kalahari
Bau and the Baobab - a counting book for young
Rough Luck - an adventure story for teenagers
Working on the Women's Health Handbook for Wits
Working on a handbook on careers for the Education
Working on various English textbook projects
Zebra Books : 1995 - 1996
With business partner Ann Walton, a well-known South African
illustrator and Art Director, produced a total of 48
supplementary readers for Kagiso Publishers (later acquired by
Maskew Miller Longman) in a series called Zebra Books. The
titles covered pre-reading to Grade seven (12 year olds).
Sunbird Books (PPS Publishing): 1997 -
Again in partnership with Ann Walton, produced eight further
supplementary readers for use in Ghana. All books aimed at
readers in Grade 6 - 7 (ages 11 and 12).
Stars of Africa (Maskew Miller Longman):
1999 - 2003
This large publishing project (to exceed 150
books when complete) was begun in 1999 with intense pre-planning
to include knowledge from and about Africa. I acted as series
editor throughout, working closely with authors and the
publishers to produce a definitive series of supplementary
readers from pre-school to senior primary level that addressed
issues of importance to children in Africa.
Cambridge University Press Rainbow Readers
Working as a box editor on a four boxes of ten
readers each, fiction and non-fiction).