This collection of new essays analyzes the work of 29 authors and illustrators. South African children's and youth literature, highly regarded internationally has a long history. South Africa is the most prolific publisher of children's books on the continent, producing arguably the highest quality literature in Africa. Its traditions, while unique, resonate within the larger world of children's literature and are solidly grounded in African myth and archetypes. The African diaspora in the U.S. and elsewhere have stories rooted in these oral traditions. Much has changed in South African literature for children since the 1994 election that transformed the country. A field once dominated by all white and mostly female writers and illustrators has diversified, adding many new voices in the last twenty years.
Barbara A. Lehman is a professor of children's literature at The Ohio State University, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at the Mansfield Campus. Her scholarly interests focus on multicultural and global children's literature and child-centered literary criticism. She lives in Mansfield. Jeremy Heale is the long-standing editor of Bookchat, South Africa's only periodical dedicated to children's literature and now available on the internet. He is the author of many books for children and about children's literature. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Anne Hill has been involved in initial and in-service teacher development since 1989, specializing in drama, art and literature-based approaches to literacy. Since her retirement from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2007, she has lived in Greyton, South Africa. Thomas van der Walt is a professor in the Department of Information Science at the University of South Africa (Unisa) where he teaches children's literature, user studies and archival science. He lives in Pretoria, South Africa. Magdel Vorster worked for several years as a children's librarian and went on to co-own a children's bookshop, Rapunzel, in Pretoria, South Africa. She now lives in Abu Dhabi and remains active in reviewing South African children's literature for publishers and award committees.