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These are our suggestions for the best books to gift to children this festive season.

From baby to 12 years+, we’ve picked out the best books to gift to children – books that will help them learn colours, numbers and shapes, draw comfort from everyday things, dive into adventure, explore Africa, enter the realms of fantasy, and laugh until they cry.


Take a look at our selection of recommended books to gift to adults.

For babies and toddlers

Tippie’s First Book of … by Dr Nandi Lessing-Venter with José Palmer and Reinette Lombard

A series of board books for little fingers, which focus on a specific concept. The simple stories, written in both English and Afrikaans, explain fundamental ideas to young children. They address the important things babies and toddlers need to learn, for instance, colours, opposites, numbers and sounds. It’s the ideal way to teach your toddler, but, most importantly, the books are full of colourful illustrations, funny characters, and stories that will make both toddlers and parents giggle as they fall in love with Tippie, the elephant.

 (Penguin Random House, R95 per book)


For 3–5 year olds

The Little Things by Penny Harrison and Hannah Sommerville

A beautifully illustrated book celebrating the simple everyday things that can spark joy and bring comfort to young children. From spitting cherry pips and cloud-watching to kitten kisses on the nose and, above all, hugs from Mom, these are the little things that lift gloomy spirits.

(Jonathan Ball Publishers, R245)



For 5–9 year olds

Captain Fanplastic and the Black Mermaid by Ruben Hazelzet, illustrated by Andrej van Walter

Captain Fanplastic and Fin the Turtle embark on a thrilling ocean adventure. Shortly into their trip, they encounter a trail of trash, which they follow. Very soon they are led into an underwater world. When Fin gets stuck in a fishing net, Zandi the mermaid comes to his rescue. She teams up with the Captain and Fin and, later, with the help of the seabirds and some children from the village, they begin to clear the ocean of the endless plastic litter while creating greater awareness of man’s connection to the ocean, and the negative impact of humanity’s thoughtless actions. 

(Soapbox South Africa, the book is available from Takealot and

For 6–10 year olds 

The Good Sports League – The Ultimate Goal by Tommy Greenway, illustrated by Lesley Vamos

The first title in a series of stories about sport and sportsmanship. Featuring the perfect combination of illustration and text, it tells the story of Ben who plays soccer on the Anchovies team in the casual Pizza League with his friends. As the team’s top player, Ben quickly gets head-hunted by a travel team coach.  Ben is excited about this opportunity, however, he soon feels out of his depth in a new league, leaving him nervous and stressed. As he navigates through this new experience, he learns to stand up for himself, balance his schedule, keep his friendships alive, and regain his love for the game. 

(Jonathan Ball Publishers, R170).


Zoya and Naru: An African Journey of a Boy and an Elephant by Caroline Montague, illustrated by Richie Ryall

The story of a boy and a baby elephant and their unexpected friendship as they journey to reunite Zoya with his elephant herd. The intrepid boy and the baby elephant are soon joined by a growing circle of animals. This tender, and often amusing story reflects the age-old African story of nature and humankind existing together in mutual respect. The conversations are filled with beautiful African proverbs and life lessons that raise awareness of the plight of elephants and the need to protect them.

PS: Adults will love this book too!

(Doubleday, R350)

For 9–12 year olds

The Blunders by David Walliams, illustrations by Adam Stower

Meet the Blunders: Bertie, Betsy, their children, Brutus and Bunny, beloved grandma Old Lady Blunder, and their pet ostrich, Cedric. Faced with losing their near-to-collapse home, Blunder Hall, this family of upper-class blundersome twits join forces and undergo a series of comic misadventures to save it. Fun, fantasy, and imagination all characterise this hilarious tale of the silliest family in the world. The book’s characters each have very distinct personalities, which adds to the absurdity of their antics. There are surprises galore, from exploding bottom burps and life-sized board games to a ghost cat called Tiddlypops, and plenty more.

(Jonathan Ball Publishers, R299) 


For 12 years+

Murtagh by Christopher Paolini

The sixth book in the World of Eragon series, this epic fantasy sees Dragon Rider Murtagh, Eragon’s half-brother, and his dragon Thorn exiled to the outskirts of society. Abandoned by the world, the bond between dragon rider and dragon becomes even stronger as they help each other heal from the traumas and compounded guilt of the past.  Most importantly, they must work together and use everything in their power to find and outwit the mysterious witch. The complex and nuanced characters contribute to this compelling and suspenseful fantasy story. Murtagh, a standalone storyis the ideal read for those who have not yet entered the World of Eragon, and is perfect for those who wish to return. 

(Penguin Random House, R350)