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Enjoy these recommended reads about dealing with difference, emotions and social issues.

Perfectly Different

By Sarah Tavola (Struik)

The Child Mag team is a huge fan of this book! It’s a delightful tale, written in rhyme, about a little boy asking his mother a series of questions about why all his friends are so different – in appearance and character. Each time, his mother explains that they are all as beautiful and wonderful as one another, and perfect as they are. The subtle message is that we should embrace individuality and respect difference. Complementing the story are bright and charming illustrations from Sinan Hallak, showing children of various genders, ethnicity and styles of dress and behaviour.

It’s splendid,” Mama laughed,

“to wear whatever feels right.

Whether it’s pyjamas in the day

or an overcoat at night.

The Gift of the Sun – a Tale From South Africa

By Dianne Stewart (Lincoln)

When Thulani tires of having to milk his cow, he exchanges it for a goat, the goat for a sheep, the sheep for three geese, until all he has left are some sunflower seeds. But then the seeds feed the hens, the hens lay more eggs, and before long Thulani is enjoying good fortune – the gift of the sun.

Cammy Chameleon

By Lea Wowra (Don Nelson Publishers)

Cammy Chameleon is a Cape Dwarf Chameleon living in Cape Town, South Africa. Like you, she loves to spend time with her friends, especially with Casper Chameleon, whom she visits after school. Fearless as she is, Cammy likes to explore and wander around the nature reserve, until one day, she encounters a terrifying animal, or does she?

Happy Yosh

By Pauline Gerson (Smart Emotions)

This book provides an important building block for emotional intelligence by helping our younger generation (3–7 years) to recognise and understand their emotions. It is designed as an interactive reading experience, individually, or as a group, with question time for children to stop and think about their own emotions.

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Saving My Sons – A Journey With Autism

By Ilana Gerschlowitz with Marion Scher (Bookstorm)

Ilana and Martin Gerschlowitz are an ordinary middle-class South African family – young, newly married with bright, promising futures. Ilana falls pregnant and gives birth to David, a happy, healthy baby boy. At 10 months old, David suffers recurring ear infections, and at 11 months old a terrible fever sends him to hospital. David’s behaviour abruptly changes – he no longer looks at his parents, his motor and budding language skills disappear, and the light in his eyes dims. It is the beginning of a journey with autism that few parents would ever want to encounter.

Saving my Sons is the journey of transforming the immobilising emotions of fear and desolation into a mother’s unwavering determination to help her son overcome the seemingly impenetrable impact of autism and how this, in turn, has impacted on other children and families with the condition.

Every Parent’s Nightmare – A Practical Guide for Dealing With Child Abuse

By Bruna Dessena (Quickfox Publishing)

An important insight into the physical and emotional signs of abuse and the children most at risk of being abused, how paedophiles groom children and the different types of abuse. The book also covers the legal aspects – what should be done when you find out, how you can best support the child emotionally, and what happens in a court of law. The Sexual Offences Act and the Children’s Act are also included in the book to empower parents, teachers and caregivers to know the child’s rights and what can be expected from the legal system in South Africa. This edition introduces new chapters on internet predators, cyberbullying, and more information on different types of abuse, such as “familial abuse”.

Raising Boys in the Twenty-First Century

By Steve Biddulph (Harper Collins)

A bestseller that has become one of the much-loved and most successful books in the parenting field. With some startling new research on what helps – and what harms – boys. In this expanded and updated edition, Steve Biddulph shares and gives practical and honest advice to parents so they can recognise the different stages of boyhood and learn how to raise happy, confident and kind young men. Home, society and education have failed boys badly – and these failures lead to unhappy men who cannot fully become responsible, emotionally-confident adults. While it is essential that boys spend more time learning about manhood from their fathers, Biddulph updates his classic to include helpful information for mothers and single mothers with baby boys. He also explores some important topics such as:

  • How ADHD may be caused by stress in the first year of life
  • Whether boys should start school later than girls
  • How important it is to let boys cry
  • How crying helps avoid violence, suicide, and risky behaviour
  • Two completely new stages of boyhood we didn’t know about – the full-on fours and the emotional eights
  • Help for single mothers raising sons.
  • How to choose a sport that does more good than harm
  • What we can do about boys and binge drinking.
  • What science can tell us about teenage boys and driving – and how we can keep our sons safe.

Raising Boys offers parents real-life situations, thought-provoking insights, humour and help.