Puppet show ladybug

Welcome Level 3 with Shmeezle on Books Beyond Words

Who doesn’t love puppets? It definitely seems that the cherubic Books Beyond Words community clearly did not have enough. Back by popular demand, Shmeezle, will once again grace Books Beyond Words online storytelling event this weekend to help parents and children welcome the easing of some restrictions. Last week, the adorable puppet had the audience engaged in genuine and hearty laughter.

Also back this weekend is Martelize Faber who will narrate one of her own stories. Children can also look forward to colouring-in a page from the story and will be able to download and print the picture.

You can catch all the excitement once again on NBW’s Facebook page on Saturday 30 May at 11:00am.

The 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, has been inviting storytellers every weekend since the lockdown began in March for a live event to tell children an interesting story, including from their own books

NBW is a joint initiative of the South African Book Development Council (SABDC) and The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

“Normal life has been on hold for many adults and children with the former juggling many parenting responsibilities besides working a day job from the kitchen counter or living room. And for many children, despite being at home, the day neither has the semblance of a holiday nor does it feel like a weekend with grandparents,” says Elitha van der Sandt, CEO, SABDC.

“The online storytelling event was initiated to create an activity where the whole family could be involved in and be absorbed into. The live format of the event helps to take the children’s mind off the current realities and into a safer space where they are free to make friends with new characters every week.”

Sock Puppet

The puppet show story for this weekend is called “Surprise for Freddie” and will be presented by Margaret Auerbach and her Spellbound Puppets. The Afrikaans story by Martelize is called Maanpêrels, the children’s story from her short story collection “Al wat ek het, is WOORDE” which is now available on Amazon.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced the easing of further restrictions to Level 3 from 01 June onwards. Barring a few businesses like sit-down restaurants, most businesses will be allowed to open provided health and safety measures are strictly followed. It is a good time to step out in your personal protective equipment, support the book stores and buy a book you can read to your children.

“Most of the activities available online throughout the lockdown centred around books and their positive impact is undeniable. We hope our efforts are helping children feel less alone and gives parents a little respite during this difficult time. Children will inevitably be feeling a little lost in lockdown, missing friends and the outdoors, and stories can be a source of such comfort,” says van der Sandt in conclusion.

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