The Jay Heale Collection


Today a very important and (for once one can accurately say), unique collection of books moved home. Jay Heale’s collection of South African children’s books dating back as early as about 1897 (that particular book is undated) is in transit to Hermanus where it will be available for teachers and children in the library of Enlighten Education Trust.

Jay will also soon be on the move, out of active work with children’s books, but not out of the hearts of his many well-wishers and devoted fans who have followed him on Bookchat from the days when it was a cut-and-paste and photocopy production to its 200th edition (digitally) and then a few more. We wish him well in his retirement to Napier where he will doubtless enjoy a lot of quiet reading!

The Jay Heale Collection has a safe and permanent home in a place where it will be used. This was the main criterion for finding a home for it and CBN was proud to be involved. South African children’s books do not enjoy the recognition they deserve in their home country. Sometimes hidden away in the realms of ‘educational publishing’ are many gems that would be picture books elsewhere and, at the front of the shelving many fine trade books that have been stars overseas. This collection brings them together.

Currently the books, all 800 of them (seventeen boxes), are slumbering in Jay’s garage, packed and waiting to be collected by a volunteer with a big red bakkie who will transport them to Hermanus this afternoon. Once they are unpacked and officially inducted into the Enlighten library, there will be a welcoming party. For now we can breathe a sigh of relief that this important collection will stay together – and continue to be loved and, most importantly for books, READ by teachers and children.

We wish them well!

Bookchat will still be available online until the end of June at:

Enlighten Trust works to contribute positively to education and social development in the Overstrand. For more information go to

Image: Jay Heale in his capacity of Book Editor for CBN handing over books from Rotary Newland’s Books of the World project to the Red Hill container library.

Books for the World is a Rotary project. For more information see:

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