It is important that children see themselves, their ethnicity, and culture reflected in the books they read – it helps them learn about themselves and makes them feel like they belong. This was the inspiration for and driving force behind NANDI IN KWAZULU, a newly released children’s book by teacher and first-time author Praline Hudson. Hudson released her book on World Book Day, this past weekend in Barcelona, Spain.
The book tells the story of Nandi and her friends growing up in a carefree KwaZulu-Natal, and the fun involved in an age-old game.
Inspired by her South African roots the author, who has been an early years educator for thirty years, wanted to contribute towards diversity in children’s literature while fostering a love of language and reading: “I decided to write this story because of the lack of representation I found of people of colour in the storybooks I was reading to my three daughters some twenty years ago. While things have thankfully changed since then, we must not tire of bringing books based on the diversity of our planet to little ones,” she says. “I want children to read this book to experience the joy of reading, to experience how language can transport one and to discover the characteristics of people and their lands.”
The richly and beautifully illustrated book is perfect for the 0 to 5 age range, when it can be enjoyably read by parents to their children, as well as for the 6 to 7 age group, who can read the story of Nandi for themselves.
Choosing to write for children aged 0 to 7 years was deliberate. “As an early years educator, I am still amazed daily at the capacity for young minds to absorb and to grasp experiences with curiosity and openness,” says the author. “I believe that we can forge an amazing world for all by showing children that diversity is enriching and by opening their minds to learning about all those who inhabit our planet, from every corner of the earth.”
Originally from Durban in South Africa, Praline has been living in Barcelona, Spain since 1994. The Montessori-trained teacher and mother of three, who has always had a love of writing, decided to pursue her dream of crafting a children’s book during the initial COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
“María Montessori spoke about fantasy and how we could enrich young minds with amazing stories based on our real world. This stuck with me, and the result is NANDI IN KWAZULU, a fictional tale based in my motherland! I hope that my book will reach many hands and be shared with as many little people as possible.”
NANDI IN KWAZULU, published by Fox Editions, is available from Amazon.
The book will also be available via Ethnikids in South Africa, soon.