Lawyer turned author Karen Theunissen will grace the screen on Books Beyond Words this weekend reading from her first book, ‘I Have Brown Skin and Curly Hair’. The rhyming picture book is about the identity crises many children face when they look different from their family members. The book takes children through the unique and often untold history of South Africa, explaining how a mixed-race heritage can contribute to their physical differences and yet they can still be part of one family.
Books Beyond Words is a weekly event hosted by South Africa’s annual reading awareness week, National Book Week (NBW), dedicated to encouraging leisure reading and promoting the importance of books. NBW is a joint initiative of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture.
The book is illustrated by the prestigious Brown Velvet Award awardee Charles Gibbons. His works sit in boardrooms and homes around the world.
Ms Theunissen was the winner of Jacana Media’s Pitch to Publication submission in 2018.
She studied law at the University of the Witwatersrand where she obtained her BA Law, LLB and LLM degrees. She practices writing by blogging on a regular basis on her personal blog Mumziboo. Her writing is inspired by her four young daughters and their quest to discover the world around them.
This week’s story will also have an activity that children can engage in. The activity sheet can be downloaded from NBW’s Facebook page and encourages children to draw a picture of their family.
“Stories play a vital role in the growth and development of children. The books they read and are exposed to growing up enable them to build confidence, cope with feelings and most importantly carry the reading skills into the future,” says Elitha van der Sandt, CEO, SABDC.
“When children read stories that mirror their feelings it can help them understand and accept their own. It helps them understand that there are other children who feel the same way and reinforces the fact that they’re not alone. This encourages children to express their feelings more openly and be more comfortable about the differences.”
“Children who can read well grow up to be more confident. This not only benefits during the schooling years but also in later life. Reading is a good form of relaxation, and it allows everyone, both young and old, to forget the stresses and strains of the day and create their own world for a while.”
The countdown to National Book Week, your Passport To Tomorrow begins in earnest this weekend. NBW will be hosted online from 07 September – 13 September 2020. For more details visit https://www.
Join us on Saturday 29 August 2020 at 11:00am on NBW’s Facebook page to understand how you can embrace your diversity and be amazing at the same time.