Hector; a boy, a protest, and the photograph that changed apartheid

On June 16, 1976, Hector Pieterson, an ordinary boy, lost his life after getting caught up in what was supposed to be a peaceful protest. Black South African students were marching against a new law requiring that they be taught half of their subjects in Afrikaans, the language of the White government. The story’s events unfold from the perspectives of Hector, his sister, and the photographer who captured their photo in the chaos. This book can serve as a pertinent tool for adults discussing global history and race relations with children. Its graphic novel style and mixed media art portray the vibrancy and grit of Hector’s daily life and untimely death. Heartbreaking yet relevant, this powerful story gives voice to an ordinary boy and sheds light on events that helped lead to the end of apartheid.

Grandad Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s two great-grandchildren ask their grandmother, Mandela’s youngest daughter, 15 questions about their grandad – the global icon of peace and forgiveness who spent 27 years in prison. They learn that he was a freedom fighter who put down his weapons for the sake of peace, and who then became the President of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and realise that they can continue his legacy in the world today. Seen through a child’s perspective, and authored jointly by Nelson Mandela’s great-grandchildren and daughter, this amazing story is told as never before to celebrate what would have been Nelson’s Mandela 100th birthday.

When Morning Comes

Zanele is skipping school and secretly plotting against the apartheid government. The police can’t know. Her mother and sister can’t know. Her best friend Thabo, schoolboy turned gang member, can tell she’s up to something. But he has troubles of his own–a deal gone wrong and some powerful enemies. Across the bridge, in the wealthy white suburbs, Jack plans to spend his last days in Johannesburg burning miles on his beat-up Mustang–until he meets a girl with an unforgettable face from the simmering black township–Soweto. Working in her father’s shop, Meena finds a packet of banned pamphlets. They lead to a mysterious black girl with a secret, a dangerous gangster with an expensive taste in clothes, and an engaging white boy who drives a battered red car. A series of chance meetings changes everything. A chain of events is set in motion–a failed plot, a murdered teacher, and a secret movement of students that has spread across the township. And the students will rise.

It’s Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah, the funny guy who hosts The Daily Show on Comedy Central, shares his remarkable story of growing up in South Africa with a black South African mother and a white European father at a time when it was against the law for a mixed-race child to exist. But he did exist–and from the beginning, the often-misbehaved Trevor used his keen smarts and humor to navigate a harsh life under a racist government. This fascinating memoir blends drama, comedy, and tragedy to depict the day-to-day trials that turned a boy into a young man. In a country where racism barred blacks from social, educational, and economic opportunity, Trevor surmounted staggering obstacles and created a promising future for himself, thanks to his mom’s unwavering love and indomitable will. It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime not only provides a fascinating and honest perspective on South Africa’s racial history, but it will also astound and inspire young readers looking to improve their own lives.

The Hidden Star

Nolitye lives in a shack with her mother Thembi in Phola, a dusty township on the edge of Johannesburg. She is good at maths and likes collecting stones, which she places in a bucket under her bed. She also has unusual powers: she can communicate with dogs. Nolitye has two close friends, Bheki, who is overweight, and the bespectacled Four Eyes, who join with her to resist the bullying from Rotten Nellie and her gang of Spoilers. One day, Nolitye finds a special stone that has the power to make people feel happy and laugh. Her mission from now on is to gather together the other pieces of the stone and reunite them, to stop darkness from taking control of her world.

We Kiss Them With Rain

Life wasn’t always this hard for 14-year-old Mvelo. There were good times living with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. Now her mother is dying of AIDS and what happened to Mvelo is the elephant in the room, despite its growing presence in their small shack. In this Shakespeare-style comedy, the things that seem to be are only a façade and the things that are revealed hand Mvelo a golden opportunity to change her fate. We Kiss Them With Rain explores both humor and tragedy in this modern-day fairy tale set in a squatter camp outside of Durban, South Africa.

Shaka A Legend Of The Warrior Prince Rising

A time of bloody conflict and great turmoil. The slave trade expands from the east African coast. Europeans spread inland from the south. And one young boy is destined to change the future of southern Africa. This retelling of the Shaka legend explores the rise to power of a shrewd young prince who must consolidate a new kingdom through warfare, mediation, and political alliances to defend his people against the expanding slave trade.

Mama Africa!

Miriam Makeba, a Grammy Award–winning South African singer, rose to fame in the hearts of her people at the pinnacle of apartheid―a brutal system of segregation similar to American Jim Crow laws. Mama Africa, as they called her, raised her voice to help combat these injustices at jazz clubs in Johannesburg; in exile, at a rally beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and before the United Nations.