Want to read to your children in your mother tongue? Check out these books

2019-02-21 12:19

A growing number of reports highlights the need to increase the number of reading materials in South Africa that include mother tongue languages.

International Mother Language Day, which was officially launched by Unesco in 1991, aims to promote language diversity and the importance of mother tongue speaking.

City Press put together this list of children’s books which are available in languages other than English.

Yheke Yanga! From 3 Tins to cricket champion by Refiloe Moahloli

Yheke Yanga! is an isiXhosa title published by PanMacmillan

Available in English as Yes Yanga! From 3 Tins to cricket champion, this isiXhosa title which will be releasing in April is a colourful book about Yanga, the three tin champion who makes his way to becoming a cricket star by being a member of the South African cricket World Cup team. Beautifully illustrated with 32 pages, this is a picture book that can enhance the enjoyment of learning to read in isiXhosa.

Published by PanMacmillan South Africa


Izilwanyana ezili-100 lokuqala by Priddy Books

izilwanyana ezili-100 lokuqala is the isiXhosa title of the first 100 animals, published by PanMacmillan SA

This isiXhosa title forms part of the Priddy Children’s book collection, to teach children the names of 100 animals in IsiXhosa. iKamela is camel and iHagu is pig. Learn the other 98, all with pictures!

Published by PanMacmillan South Africa

R 59

Ezilwane ezili-100 zokuqala by Priddy Books

izilwane ezili-100 zokuqala is about the first 100 animals, published in isiZulu by PanMacmillan SA

This isiZulu title forms part of the Priddy Children’s book collection, to teach children the names of 100 names in isiZulu. Izindlovu is elephant and Idube is a zebra. With 100 animals to learn, this will make a fun learning experience for parents and children!

Published by PanMacmillan South Africa


Jacana Media has a fantastic offering of children’s books which have been written and translated into all 11 languages!

Some of them are: UBafana uyabhudanga, an isiNdebele story about Bafana, an imaginative young boy who takes us through his exciting dreams.

UBafana uyabhudanga, an isiNdebele title by Jacana Media

This full colour 16-page book which was published in 2010 is sure to enhance the reading and understanding of isiNdebele.


This siSwati children’s book, Wentani? is published by Jacana Media

With the 2011 census recording the siSwati speaking population at just 2.5%, the language forms one of the minority languages of the country. Luckily, Jacana also offers siSwati reading for it’s children and young adults. One title is called Wentani? about a boy called Lele who goes through his day learning to read and write.


To find more children’s titles in all eleven official languages visit

Avantika Seeth
Multimedia journalist
City Press
p:+27 11 713 9001  e:
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February 23 2020