Raising a Reader + GIVEAWAY *Closed*

It’s that time of year again, for all aspiring bookworms and parents of budding bookworms to pick up a book and bask in the joy of reading. National Book Week (3 – 9 September) kicked off this Monday, with the SA Book Development Council using this initiative to encourage South Africans to read more. If you look at the stats, the state of reading can be much better, with over 73% of South Africans over the age of 16 not interested in it at all. For children, it’s even worse with only 5% of parents reading to their children. And while buying books (especially for pleasure) may be considered a luxury, for most, not reading is a case of not having time to rather than a concern about the cost.

Now, I’ve always said that I’m the biggest wannabe bookworm around. There are few things better than going into a bookstore and touching brand new books. I buy them more than I read, though! My dad, who is the biggest bookworm I know, unfortunately, didn’t pass that gene down to me. So I grew up dreaming that my kids would love reading. At age two, Kai is a bonafide bookworm and I’m pretty sure it’s because I was that crazy mom who read to him every day since he was two months old – true story. So you can imagine how proud I always am when Kai can’t wait to go upstairs for us to read his bedtime stories. These days, I stand in front of his bookshelf, ask him what he wants to read and he chooses his top three with an excited giggle.

Apart from the great reasons to read to your child I shared last year, I realised that there is one massive benefit of reading that I’m seeing now, as Kai’s a bit older. It’s hands down his favourite thing to do with me and his dad. New dads are usually quite nervous and don’t really know how to bond with their baby. Reading is a great, fool-proof activity dad can handle, that doesn’t really require any skills other than, well, literacy. And even then, most children’s books are image heavy so you can even get around it by improvising the actual story. I’m always intrigued when Kevin reads a book that I usually read to Kai at bedtime. He does the characters voices completely differently and tells the story in his own way – which gives it a nice fresh spin to it, even for me.

A follower recently asked me when she should start reading to her baby. Remember how I said I was the crazy mom who read to her two month old? I kid you not, by seven months, Kai was able to indicate which book he wanted me to read and by eleven months, he used some of his first steps to grab a book and shove it in my hand to read to him. I honestly don’t think it’s ever too soon to start. Remember, books grow as children do. So there’s always a selection of books suitable for the age your child is. I just hope his love for books is one that he’ll have until adulthood.

To celebrate National Book Week, I’ve partnered up with PanMacMillan Books again to give four lucky mamas (or papas) a hamper of books for their little ones. With PanMacMillan being one of the country’s largest book publishers, they have a wide range of children’s books, varied enough to cater for different ages and interests. Whether your child is into dinosaurs or puzzles, there’s a book for all the different budding bookworms out there.

WIN a hamper of Pan Macmillan books worth over R1600!



I’ll be giving away a hamper of books to four winners across three of my platforms. Increase your chances of winning by entering on all platforms!:

  • Grand prize = 10 books worth over R1600 for the blog winner
  • Three hampers = 5 books each hamper, worth over R600 for another blog winner, Instagram and Facebook winners

How to enter:

In the comments box below, share your favourite reading memory from your childhood or now with your child.

To win the other two hampers, enter on Facebook, or Instagram.

The rules:


  • The competition will close at 4pm on Wednesday 12th September, 2018
  • This competition is open to South African residents only
  • Two (2) winners (1 for grand prize, 1 for secondary hamper) will be chosen and announced on this post by Friday 14th September, 2018
  • Only answers submitted in the comments below will be valid
  • The winner will be contacted via e-mail so please be available to supply full contact and delivery details. If the winner does not respond to the email within a 48 hours of contact, another winner will be chosen and the original winner will forfeit the prize.
  • Best answer will win
  • Grand prize hamper will consist of 10 books suitable for the child’s age (not necessarily the ones featured in this post)
  • Secondary hamper will consist of 5 books suitable for the child’s age (not necessarily the ones featured in this post)
  • All prize delivery logistics will be handled by a Pan Macmillan representative

Social Media (Facebook and Instagram)

  • The competition will close at 4pm on Wednesday 12th September, 2018
  • This competition is open to South African residents only
  • One (1) winner per platform
  • Only answers submitted by correctly following the instructions will be valid. Facebook and Instagram entries are separate and unrelated.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly
  • Winners will be announced on the respective social media posts by Friday 14th September, 2018
  • Winners will be contacted via a DM so please be available to supply full contact and delivery details. If the winner does not respond to the DM or announcement within 48 hours of contact, another winner will be chosen and the original winner will forfeit the prize.
  • Each hamper will consist of 5 books suitable for the child’s age (not necessarily the ones pictured in this post)
  • All prize delivery logistics will be handled by a Pan Macmillan representative

Good luck, and here’s to raising readers!

Main photography by Robin Davie



  1. Gaelyn Cokayne
    September 18, 2018 / 8:35 am

    I absolutely loved being able to instill my love of reading with my step daughter. We would build a blanket fort in the lounge with pillows and blankets and treats, snuggle up and go on all sorts of adventures together through the pages of her books. I hope to do the same with Stevie as she grows up too!

  2. Megan
    September 17, 2018 / 7:22 am

    I found myself reminiscing a lot while reading your post. I treasured most of the books you mentioned. Some that were highlights – the Redwall Series is such a phenomenal series, with such adult verbage in a kid-friendly format. And the Magic School Bus series helped me get through 7th-grade science class when we did a unit on human anatomy. I used to stay up late into the wee hours of the night, scaring myself with Nancy Drew books. (Can you tell I was a total bookworm?) Thanks for the great memories!

  3. Thandie Phakati
    September 12, 2018 / 6:38 am

    In the midst of being a single mum to Twin boys who was working 2 jobs and studying at the same time, time wasn’t exactly something I could spare. The routine was simple, wake up early, get the Twins and myself ready for school and work, pick them up after work, start cooking supper, help them with homework, bath them and put them to bed early so I can prep for tomorrow and start my assignments. They spend very little time with their dad and before I knew it, I was called into the school because they were acting out and I thought umm boys will be boys until I started noticing it at home. It got bad they went into therapy which obviously shattered my heart. One evening somewhere in my ever busy schedule, I dedicated myself to have a slot for them not just to help them through the routine. I picked up their book Prayers for Little Hearts and read the one about being thankful for family. Tears trickled down my cheeks as I read and they joined into the tears party too. We snuggled and read it again and talked about it. From then we ready almost every night, it’s our bonding session and their time to create stories out of the stories.

  4. Tebogo Tlhabane
    September 11, 2018 / 11:54 pm

    My favorite reading memory is of my dad wow this actually gave me such awesome and sad memories all at once because its one of the few I have on him when he was still an active role in my life before my parents divorce.

    He used to read rapunzel to me every single night at bedtime. I loved the book so much that he even got a tap recoder to tape himself read so i could listen when he wasn’t around. I wish I still had it would have been an awesome gift to pasd on to my twin girls.

    Winning these books would help a great deal in my new task of trying to read to my girls more. I need to normalize reading in our household.

  5. September 11, 2018 / 11:06 pm

    l remember reading to my kids when they were little and now l read to my grandkids who simply can’t get enough of me reading to them.

  6. Ntokozo Sithole
    September 11, 2018 / 6:47 pm

    Ive always been a bookworm growing up and even as a young adult, but after giving birth it seemed to fall away, i got too busy trying to juggle motherhood and work. I started reading to my kids, when they were still toddlers, they didnt really get it and would rip the pages and throw books but the day they really got it is my fondest memory, the silence and awes of storytelling. Its one of the moments i wont forget. We have a beautiful routine now and they can say the words off by hearrt. Its truly beautiful

  7. Adele
    September 11, 2018 / 5:01 pm

    My 3 year old loves stories, and can listen to the same story so many times and never get bored!! His latest is I read the story to him, he takes it and says ” now im going to read it to you”… and he can generally remember quite a bit of the story! Its so special, and i love seeing the love he has for books and how he looks after them!! Whenever we go visit my mom, he goes to her bookshelf and gets her to read some of the stories from my childhood, those definitely bring back so many wonderful memories!!

  8. Anu Naidoo
    September 11, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    My reading memory at bedtime was my three sisters and myself sleeping on a single bed and my mom used to sit on a chair beside the bed and read our favourite story to us Cinderella and we used to smile with excitement at the part when the Glass Slipper fitted her foot perfectly no matter how many times mum read the story we got so excited….fast forwards years later I met my Prince Charming and we had our little princess and she loves this story until this day. Its a feel good story giving hope.

  9. MrsFF
    September 11, 2018 / 3:27 pm

    Childhood mem9ory related to books involved getting some
    Hiding 🙂 when I was younger I used to devour books to the point where I would forget to eat and not do any chores my mom would assign to me while on holiday. I got lost in the books and imagined my self as a character in the book and just let my imagination run wild. I’m so happy to be raising little readers. This comes with its own problems though… on some days the girl child is super exhausted and nods off to sleep before we read, and on days like this she would wake up between 3 and 4 am and demand we read because her sleep is better if we read 😆

  10. Shahana
    September 11, 2018 / 3:24 pm

    Reading is so important for kids to spark creativity…. if my 4 year old is not in the mood for a book we still do story time but I give him a chance to narrate his own story / make up his own to inspire creative thinking

  11. Nomonde Dube
    September 11, 2018 / 3:22 pm

    My childhood memory of reading is rather in early primary because my parents sent me to a boarding school very early in my life. They have never read to me but our matron at our hostel read to us. She was like our mother away from home so the very first book I remember was ‘The ugly duckling’ followed by a variety of fairy tale stories. Most of them broke my heart but the thrill kept me listening and today I can recall all the lessons I took from them despite my faint understanding at that age.

    Not only did this start my live for reading but it has made me a book lover and book worm. In a home where reading is not the norm I am trying to get my younger siblings and cousins to read, most importantly for their intelligence, creating an open mind and learning the lessons from different stories because there always is something to learn from a book even a fairytale.

    I hope my baby will grow to read more and make books part of her life.

  12. Anthea Williams
    September 9, 2018 / 9:02 pm

    My favourite reading memory was of my teacher reading to us ‘Mooi Miena’, she had a captivating voice and we would all be extra quiet to listen to her read.
    She was a great story teller and could really make us use our imaginations.

    • Sharne Peters
      September 11, 2018 / 5:21 pm

      Reading to my daughter Jade her favourite bed time story Red Riding Hood a classic which I enjoyed as a child now my very own daughter enjoyed me reading to her.
      Special moments each night to read to her.

  13. Liv Lawrence
    September 7, 2018 / 10:11 pm

    I had a quirky aunt and uncle who i never saw as they lived over seas but every so often they would post me books (when the post office was amazing) this is how i was introduced to Rohal Dahl Revolting Ryhmes. My love of Rohal Dahl only grew from there.

    Now my little one has discovered him too! My daughter found books when she was about 6 months old. She has her own little reading nook and she can sit in there for hours looking through all the books she has. She has even taken some of the big books like the dictionaries from the big bookshelf to put in hers… i see a bookworm in the making and it would be lovely to give her so many more to explore .

  14. September 7, 2018 / 2:57 pm

    Most recent memory , I was reading to my 3 year old and 11 month old babies.Big brother chose the three little pigs because he likes the huffing and puffing that comes with it and baby girl just started doing everything her brother did .It is just melted my heart, they learn so fast. You are right its never too early and its important to introduce books to them otherwise they will only see gadgets as entertainment.

  15. Emmerantia shiba
    September 7, 2018 / 1:37 pm

    I grew up in a household where where my dad said money would be used on more important things other than buying books (sad i know right). But my mom saw that i liked stories, so she would tell me and my siblings INGWANEKWANE ( fairytale,legend,story,tale or romance) some she made up herself and some were stories she grew up listening her mom reciting them to her.

    My favorite was the one about a rich man who came from overseas to find himself a bride who didn’t love him for his money but loved the real him and he had to pretend as if he was poor. I learnt a lot from that story that today am sharing the same story to my son, but besides telling him about this story i also read to him stories i got for free on the internet.

    His favorite is Tanya looses a tooth he loves this story so much cause he recently lost one of his teeth so i think he can relate more to it. I always read to him before bed and i love it when he asks questions and him telling me what he would have done differently than the character in the book,its really a great way to bond with him.

  16. palesa Nkala
    September 7, 2018 / 9:46 am

    my favourate childhood reading memory was when my sister used to read to me her favourate book “the cooking pot”.that soon became my favourate book because she would read it to me so many times.my love for book started at that time

  17. Gerna
    September 7, 2018 / 9:40 am

    My mom can tell you a story and make you believe it!! My first memory is sitting on the kitchen flore lisining To my mom read..

    And now my little girl loves her books 📚 she will sit for hours and pages her books

    Have a lovely day

  18. Nosipho Sombane
    September 7, 2018 / 9:30 am

    My favourite childhood memory is also one of my earliest childhood memories, so I must have been under 5 years old. We lived in a small poverty stricken town Theunissen, and my mom and I would sit at the back of our mud house eating oranges while she read Basotho folklore aka Ditshomo to me. My favourites were Tselane and Kgodumodumo. I don’t remember the title of the book but it had a red soft cover. This happened more than 27 years ago but I can still vividly remember the smell the of the oranges and feel the stickiness of the juice on my fingers as I am typing this. By far one of my happiest memories.

  19. Steffi Lebeya
    September 7, 2018 / 7:30 am

    My favorite reading memory would have to be in high school – purple hibiscus 🌺

    I was always socially awkward in school, I never really fit in with the cool crowd, I was shy and super skinny. While the other girls were growing boobs and were obsessed with makeup and boys, I was obsessed with books (which earned me zero points in the hallways). Books were my escape, if I had a book I didn’t mind the loneliness because I had the characters in every book to keep me company.

    Purple hibiscus for some reason was my all time favorite read, maybe because it reminded me that as “bad” as I thought I had it, there were kids who were going through much worse and had real worries – my not having boobs suddenly became ok 🙂

    My wish for my son is that he grows up loving books the way I did, May he grow to know the joy and freedom that can be found inside each page

  20. Mishka Kajee
    September 6, 2018 / 10:11 pm

    I am as passionate as you are about raising readers as both my Mum and Dad are educators and are the reason I am passionate about books. They made sure to read to me every night and by the time I was 3 years old I was ‘reading’ perhaps making up or by hearted the story but I still recall that my favourite book to boast that I could read was a well used blue covered book. I hope to raise my daughters to be readers too and have begun our journey of bedtime stories already.

  21. Nolwazi
    September 6, 2018 / 9:31 pm

    My childhood reading memory dates back to when I was 6 years old. My late grandmother would read bedtime stories for all her grandchildren . She had so many books that she would read different books everyday. The one that I still remember to this day is a story called “Little Read riding hood. A girl who would dress in red from head to toe…

    It was later in life that I realised that the reason she was reading us stories is because, bonding sessions as a family was very important to her, because we were growing up and one day we will all be gone but , we will smile and say ” we had the best childhood and created so many childhood memories:

  22. September 6, 2018 / 9:08 pm

    My favourite reading memory from my childhood was how amongst all other things to get as birthday gifts, my mom and aunts always made sure they bought me at least one book for my birthdays.

    I used to love Nancy Drew books in primary school and would always borrow them from the school library, one after the other. On the morning of my 12th birthday, my mom knocked on my bedroom door with her hands behind her back, said Happy Birthday and revealed not just one Nancy Drew book, but a 3-in-1!!! I was over the moon and realised just how much parents have the best for their children at heart! I hope I can always do the same and manage to surprise my little boy with his favourite books on his birthdays 🙂

  23. Nusrat Isaacs
    September 6, 2018 / 8:53 pm

    I remember reading my Peter Rabbit collection my mum bought me when i was seven… I read it till the gutters split and had to tape the cover together with beige packaging tape….

  24. Saamiya
    September 6, 2018 / 8:49 pm

    I remember enjoying the story book of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and when I was in school I participated in our school play based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it felt as if I was living the book! Roald Dahl was a favorite of mine 👌

  25. September 6, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    I used to read to my daughter and now she reads to her unborn baby.

  26. Kgomotso Peters
    September 6, 2018 / 8:01 pm

    My favourite reading memory from childhood, I have quite a few, but one most special was discovery Roald Dahl. I would sit in the library, at school, day after day, reading one book after the other. My favourite being Matilda. Matilda teaches kids to always be brave and stand up for yourself. (And for those you love and care about too). It was a hilariously educating book. It also taught me how to spell difficulty!
    Mrs D; Mrs I; Mrs FFI; Mrs C; Mrs U; Mrs LTY!!!

  27. Nat kirk
    September 6, 2018 / 7:47 pm

    Loved my parents getting me new books to read, I remember always wanting to read and end up falling asleep on my books!

  28. September 6, 2018 / 7:29 pm

    I am 15 years old and I love reading…
    I can read a book a day…
    I love reading cause its like a total different world…I loved Dr Seuss… Then I read the Harry Potter series and loved it…Right now I love the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz…
    I have a 7 year old sister who loves reading as much as I do…this would be soo amazing for her…
    Wish to win…#love reading!!!

  29. Sofiah
    September 6, 2018 / 7:08 pm

    Reading the never ending story in my room from cover to cover and only eating an apple the whole day

  30. Erina
    September 6, 2018 / 7:02 pm

    My son loves books! We must read at keast two stories a night to him. He is 5 now and loves to “read” to his vaby sister and this is the sweetest and best memory i have of reading.

  31. Lynn botha
    September 6, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    Reading time is so much fun at bedtime in my home.. My kiddies take turns to choose stories for me to read to them.. and I have to make the different voices of course 🙂 definitely brings back memories from my childhood as the popular stories are still the same. And I enjoy.them just as much as my kids do.

  32. Ashishta Gokhul
    September 6, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    Reading from a young aided me so grow into confidence

  33. Providence
    September 6, 2018 / 6:12 pm

    As a child my parents never read to me. But I started reading for my son. I have only 3 books with us. He knows them by head. Recently he said Kangaloo when he saw a picture in one of his books Bizzy Bear. He loves reading and wants us to read to him all the time. I would love a new collection for him but cannot afford any at the moment winning this would mean a lot to us. He is 1 year 11 months now and can say a lot of words from reading to him since he was small.

  34. Bev Oelofse
    September 6, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    My grandson has a book called Small that he lives me to read to him. He gets so excited when we read and turns the pages as soon as we have read them

  35. Thato Mngoma
    September 6, 2018 / 5:41 pm

    My favourite reading moment was when I was pregnant with my g/b twins.

    I enjoyed it souch that even now my babies are 3years old and still enjoy when I read to them.

  36. Lerato Mashaba
    September 6, 2018 / 5:22 pm

    My favourite reading memory is from primary school when schools still had inspections from department officials. I’d always be chosen to stand in front of them and “impress” them with my reading. It created so much confidence in me, probably one of the reasons I became a teacher. A memory I love of reading to my son is from the first time he pointed out objects from a book I had read to him a few times. It made me realize that all my efforts were paying off! He has a great memory!

  37. Janel
    September 6, 2018 / 5:22 pm

    My favorite childhood reading moments were when my mum used to read to us and she would try to do the voices😊 it was such a special time and mum really brought the stories to life. Its because mum lovingly read to us every day that i developed a love for reading and my kids love me reading to them just like my mum read to me❤

  38. Anita Boxoza-Sefali
    September 6, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    Honestly the greatest thing is hearing your children read to you! The sweetest sound there is.

  39. Phyllis
    September 6, 2018 / 5:07 pm

    When my daughter was three months old, I bought the lullabible book and would read/sing the different passages to her daily as it came with a song CD. She would just stay still and listen to me as I read as if she understood what I was saying. Now she is 19 months and before bedtime she always grabs a book and gives to me or her dad to read and tries to imitate the various sounds.

  40. Nomathemba Mabunda
    September 6, 2018 / 4:54 pm

    I’m 24 years old and I’m a mom of two.Growing up,I have always been fascinated by words.The fact that I could put up letters into words and into sentences.I began writing my own name at 4,mind you my name is 10 letters long.My best childhood reading memory goes way back to 2003,I was 9.My mother got a transfer and we moved into a new town.There I discovered a library.I dont remember how I stumbled upon it but I do remember going there every single day after school.It was like a haven to me,so quiete and so cold inside,the smell of books all around.The children section was full of all types of books and I loved it there.This continued until I was 12 when i moved from the children’s section to read bigger books.I was so well informed for my age.When we moved from that town,my heart broke for the library the most.I began writing and reading whatever book I found interesting.Fast forward to motherhood,I bought my son a book when he was one and he loved it so much.unfortunately he was under my mother and sisters care,they ddnt really have time to read with him.He is 3 now and his lil sis 8 months.I want them both to love books and the satisfaction that comes from reading.I have beautiful memories from books and I would like to give them the same.💗

  41. September 6, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    My favourite reading memory was my mom when she always read bedtime stories,She knows which books i loved.She would read cinderella story book or 7 Dwarlfs book..She would read softly bcs she wanted me to sleep n i would listen and ask questions tht sometimes its not easy to answer bt i would fall asleep while she is reading and those where the good old days.

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