PRAESA and the Little Hands Trust collaborate and partner with publishers and others to offer children’s literature in African languages and English.

The Hidden Star

Inkwenkwezi efihlakeleyo (IsiXhosa)

The children’s novel, The Hidden Star, by South African author K. Sello Duiker, has been translated into IsiXhosa by Xolisa Guzula. By merging a cast of characters straight out of African myth folklore with everyday township life, K. Sello Duiker creates a magical world, a wondrous quest and a timeless tale.

About the story: Eleven-year-old Nolitye’s granny used to say: if you mess with a woman, you mess with a stone. When Nolitye finds a magical stone on the dusty streets of Phola, her granny’s words take on a new meaning. Along with her two friends, Nolitye puts the powers of the stone to good use: for the first time the threesome can stand up to the Spoilers; Nolitye can save the life of Rex, the leader of a pack of talking township mutts; and dare to look scary MaMtonga with her living brown-and-green snake necklace in the eye. But soon Nolitye finds out that the purplish-blue magic stone is only one of five stones needed to put right things that started to go wrong the day her father died in a mining accident when she was five years old. Or, so she was told by her mother … Find out more

George’s secret key to the universe (in IsiXhosa and IsiZulu)

Written by Lucy and Stephen Hawking, this adventure story for children includes interesting facts about the universe. George’s secret key to the universe was translated into IsiXhosa by Xolisa Guzula and into IsiZulu by Phiwayinkosi Mbuyazi through a partnership between PRAESA, PEN SA and Jacana Media aimed at developing scientific terminology in African languages and using stories to excite children about science. Find out more.

Little hands books for babies

These board books come in boxsets of four little books that can be shared with babies, toddlers and young children. Each boxset provides an early introduction to books with themes like emotions, transport, getting dressed, eating, playing, making music, dancing, animals and opposites. Little hands books for babies boxsets, published by Jacana Media, are available in all official South African languages. Funded by The Claude Leon Foundation and Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation. Find out more.

Leo Lionni classics (in five South African languages)

PRAESA, with funding from the Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation, facilitated the translation and publishing (by Jacana Media) of three international best-selling children’s classics by Leo Lionni in English, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sesotho and Afrikaans. These three stories are among the more than 40 highly acclaimed books by Leo Lionni, a designer, illustrator and graphic artist who was honoured posthumously in 2007 with the Society of Illustrators’ Lifetime Achievement Award. He also 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 – they can overcome danger. Find out 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 stories warm their hearts and spirits. Find out more.

An extraordinary egg

It’s an extraordinary day 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. And when a long, green, scaly creature hatches out of the egg, the frogs decide that it must be a chicken! Find out more.

Who is king? (in five South African languages)

The 10 traditional stories from across Africa – Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and South Africa – in this collection have been beautifully retold and illustrated by international award-winners Beverly Naidoo and Piet Grobler. Who is king? is 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. Find out more.



The happy prince (in five South African languages)

This retelling of Oscar Wilde’s timeless, compassionate tale of the friendship is by Carole Bloch and Margaret Sixel, with illustrations by award-winning Joan Rankin. 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 English, IsiXhosa (translated by Pamela Maseko), IsiZulu (translated by Bhekinkosi Ntuli), Sesotho (translated by Grace Noge) and Afrikaans (translated by Antjie Krog). Find out more.