The toolboxes – extending the reach of CBN


One of our priorities for the future is to extend the reach of Children’s Book Network to other children and bring them more and more books. We hope to be able to create toolboxes – both digital for free download, and actual workman’s tool boxes containing everything needed to construct a workshop around a given theme.

Librarians, teachers or parents would be able to access stories, short texts from longer books, read alone books, read aloud books poetry, music and games on a particular theme. There will also be a strong emphasis on non-fiction to supplement the stories. Enough of this would appear on the website so that the material can be used by anyone who needs it – anywhere. There would be a strong African aspect but also the best of the wonderful array of books for children globally. The criteria are Excellence and Fun. (Learning is good too, but only after the first two.) Our whole CBN approach is driven by excitement and fun in books – leading, we hope, to a love of reading.

We will begin developing these ideas early in 2015 as part of the overall plan for the year. Themes we are looking for this year are Rivers, Archaeology, Time, San people, Music (particularly in reference to our rock gong project) and Friends. We will be starting with Rivers, as it is an integral part of the Clanwilliam Dam project that begins next month.

A box would possibly contain:

3 main theme books (we use, for example Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate for our HOME theme. Also in there is Cry the Beloved Country, South Africa’s classic by Alan Paton. and a book about displaced communities called My name is Honore, written by Ros Hadden and published by Maskew Miller Longman.)

10 reading books culled (at the moment) from the best of the several very good supplementary reading series available in South Africa.

3 sets of eight short books for group and paired reading

Numerous stories for telling

Short texts from longer (even adult) books or short stories. (We use picture books with children of all ages as well as carefully selected writing for adults.)

Ideas for games, clapping patterns, laughing games and general ice-breakers

An inspiration for drama (we use shadow puppets)

Writing exercises that are positive and fun. We make books in workshops and are experimenting with making them on iPads donated by teenagers in Sweden (we have two). We also do other writing exercises and group writing, which is particularly popular.

Writing materials and some craft equipment as a starter kit – and ideas about how to replicate with recycled material.

The approximate cost of developing and assembling a toolbox will be R5 000

Join the CBN mailing list