Read our 2019 Annual Report here.
Where it all began
Three of South Africa’s longest-serving and best known writers for children and young people felt compelled to do something positive about children and reading in South Africa. As a result, Children’s Book Network (CBN) began in 2012, and under the guidance of founders Gçina Mhlophe, Lesley Beake and Sindiwe Magona.
We began our programme with the Red Hill informal settlement in the Cederberg Region where we worked at building our programme for four years. CBN now operates out of Stanford and works with communities there, as well as with satellite groups in Hermanus, Mitchell’s Plain and Franschhoek.
Our most important work is through themed reading Workshops. These generally take place on weekends, during school holidays, or from time to time over a few days (budget permitting).
These aim to encourage a love for reading in our children, who self-select to be there by bringing back their signed permission slips from home. We focus on a theme for the day, and include time for games, teambuilding activities, arts and crafts, and of course as much reading as possible – paired reading, reading aloud, being read to and silent reading.
A CBN Toolbox is a sturdy book-carrier called a ‘Cadi’ filled with about 60 books. We supply these ‘mini libraries’ to communities and organisations who focus on reading with children. Toolboxes are used by teachers, librarians, social workers and organisations after school, at weekends and in school holidays to run their own Workshops. All this in an effort to instil a love of reading to more children in more communities and to reach our goals.
Toolboxes are divided into book-bags with core books around a theme. For example, our first Toolbox theme is ‘Books and Stories’, and it has been divided into five book-bags:
These Toolboxes spark ideas, give suggestions about activities that will enhance the books and we supply a handbook that explains CBN’s methods of teaching. Included is a CBN Reading Game that makes reading part of the game - and the fun.
The most important part of the programme are the books. Books are carefully chosen by Lesley Beake and Jay Heale, two highly accomplished writers. Based on a book’s complexity and how well they will be received, books are bought and assigned to a Toolbox were it will set off a little spark of inspiration in a young boy or girl’s heart. A variety of styles of reading material are available, from poetry all the way to comic books, there is something for every child. CBN chooses mainly South African books because they are easier for the children to relate to and to inspire them.
CBN has been building bridges between children and books since 2012. It is time for us to grow and develop what we have built. In order to do so, we require funding to pay rent at our Stanford venue, buy books and other resources, research and develop our Toolboxes, and, most importantly, cover our running expenses and pay our CBN team.
Donations can be made easily through GivenGain - a safe and secure online portal created specifically for non-profits like ours to receive donations effortlessly. Alternatively, you can make a donation to us through direct bank deposit. Please contact us directly for these details.
As a registered non-profit organisation, donations to CBN are tax exempt.
CBN is always in need new books to keep the children excited and engaged. Please contact us directly should you want to make a donation of books to CBN.
Read our 2019 Annual Report here.
We intended to release our funding proposal for 2020 as soon as we had completed the annual report for last ye...
Toolboxes are themed chests that house all the reading materials and activities that the children will d...
Typically taking place on Fridays, Saturdays and school holidays, CBN workshops are a definite page-turner. ...
Children's Book Network hosted an interactive workshop on Saturday 19th April 2019 with the theme 'Exp...