Literacy development and reading and writing cultural practices thrive on a mix of original writing and translations in relevant languages. PRAESA and The Little Hands Trust collaborate and partner with publishers and others to offer children’s literature in African languages and English.

Abantakwe bakwaKhalipha-Ngonyama

The children’s novel, The Brothers Lionheart, by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, has been translated into isiXhosa by Xolisa Guzula. PRAESA’s partnership with The Astrid Lindgren Company and the Swedish Arts Council has made it possible to offer this exciting novel free for download.

About the story: There’s no one Kwanda loves more than his older brother, Yona, who is brave, strong, and handsome – everything Kwanda believes he is not. Kwanda never wants to be parted from him. But Kwanda is sick, and knows he’s going to die. To comfort him, Yona tells him stories of Nangiyala, the wonderful place he’ll be going to when he dies, and where he will wait until Yona is ready to join him there. Then the unthinkable happens . . . Yona is killed in an accident. Heartbroken, Kwanda longs for the day he’ll be reunited with his brother. When the time comes, he finds Nangiyala just as wonderful as he’d imagined. But, Nangiyala is under threat. The cruel Tyhoboz’iintlanti is trying to claim it for himself – and on his side he has Kahla, the fire-breathing dragon who is feared throughout the land. Kwanda and Yona must lead others in the battle to save Nangiyala …

Little Hands Books for Babies

These board books can be shared with babies, toddlers and young children. They are an early introduction to books with themes like emotions, transport, getting ready, eating, playing, making music, dancing, animals and opposites. Four sets of four little books are  available from publishers Jacana in all 11 official South African languages. Funded by The Claude Leon Foundation and Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation. Download a guide to using these books here and to order them, contact Jacana.

16 little books for Little Hands

A pan-African set of books for children aged 0-6 written by authors from across the continent. They are available in the official languages of the African Union (Arabic, English, French, Kiswahili, Portuguese) and 15 other African languages (Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Siswati, isiNdebele, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Twi, Amharic, Cinyanja, Kinyarwanda and Mandingo). To find out more about the availability of rights for these books, or for more information about them, please contact us. Find Listen! Masimamele! on iTunes and Google play English / Xhosa The 16 books are:

  • Listen!
  • Little and big
  • Nice and clean
  • Orange
  • Raeez writes
  • Riddles
  • Six little beetles
  • Titilope’s silly game
  • Two!
  • When it rains
  • Where’s Daddy?
  • Zebra and Crocodile

George’s Secret Key to the Universe

PRAESA initiated the translation into isiXhosa and isiZulu of the science-themed story, George’s Secret Key to the Universe, partnering with PEN SA and Jacana publishers. It is the first in a series of adventure stories for children, written by Lucy and Stephen Hawking. Translated into isiXhosa by Xolisa Guzula and into isiZulu by Phiwayinkosi Mbuyazi, the book includes factual information about the universe. The aim is to excite children about science through stories and to develop scientific terminology in African languages.

Who is King?

Who is King? is a collection of 10 traditional stories from across Africa – Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa. They are beautifully retold and illustrated by international award winners Beverly Naidoo and Piet Grobler. They are available in English, Afrikaans, isiXhosa, isiZulu and Sesotho, with the African language versions funded by the Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation and The Little Hands Trust.

View on Jacana’s website here.


Best-selling classics in five languages

PRAESA, with funding from the Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation, facilitated the translation and publishing of three international best-selling children’s classics by Leo Lionni in English, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sesotho and Afrikaans. An Extraordinary Egg, Frederick and Swimmy (available from Jacana) are among more than 40 highly acclaimed books by Leo Lionni, designer, illustrator and graphic artist who was honoured posthumously in 2007 with the Society of Illustrators’ Lifetime Achievement Award. Lionni, who died in 1999 at the age of 89, was born in Holland and lived in Italy and United States. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was a four-time Caldecott Honour Winner.



Deep in the sea there lives a happy school of little fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding ... until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how – with ingenuity and team work –...

read more


Winter is coming, and all the mice are gathering food ... except for Frederick. The mice are not happy with Frederick who seems to daydream and doesn’t help them enough. But as it becomes cold, and food gets scarce, the mice gather together around Frederick, whose...

read more
An Extraordinary Egg

An Extraordinary Egg

It’s an extraordinary day on Pebble Island for three frogs when one of them discovers a beautiful white egg. They’ve never seen a chicken egg before, but they’re sure that’s what this must be. So when the egg hatches and out crawls a long, green, scaly creature, they...

read more

The Happy Prince

Oscar Wilde’s timeless, compassionate tale of the friendship between the Happy Prince and the Swallow is brought to life by Joan Rankin’s sensitive, magical artwork. Beloved since it was first published in 1888, this enchanting story will be enjoyed by both adults and children. From his high pedestal, the Happy Prince, a magnificent golden statue, can see all the misery of the city below him. He begs a little Swallow to pluck off his treasure and share it amongst the poor. When the Happy Prince asks his new friend to stay and help him, the Swallow receives a lesson in kindness and caring. The Happy Prince is available in four other official South African languages:

  • The Afrikaans edition translated by Antjie Krog.
  • The Sesotho edition translated by Grace Noge.
  • The IsiZulu edition translated by Bhekinkosi Ntuli.
  • The IsiXhosa edition translated by Pamela Maseko.

Carole Bloch and Margaret Sixel developed the book in conjunction with The Little Hands Trust and PRAESA. Joan Rankin has illustrated over thirty books for children and won numerous awards. More information is available here.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Unlock free resources, preview our newest videos and hear the latest on our projects.


You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest