On this blog you will find NEWS about
writing and illustrating Children's Books, the society and its members and activities as well as links to websites and blogs about Children's Books

2008 M-Net/Via Afrika Literary Award Winners and the Katrina Harris awards

  • The M.E.R Prize for best illustrated children’s book – Nina and Little Duck
  • The M.E.R Prize for best youth novel – The Goblet Club

The M.E.R. Prize was established in 1983 and is awarded annually by M-Net and Via Afrika in two distinct categories. A prize is awarded to the best illustrated children’s book and another to the best youth novel published during the previous year. The only condition is that the books must be aimed at younger readers and that the authors and illustrators must be South African citizens. The award is named after MER (Mimie E. Rothmann 1875-1975), for her groundbreaking work in the field of children’s literature. No distinction is made between English and Afrikaans books.

For more information about the awards, see:

Nina and Little Duck -
The M.E.R Prize for best illustrated children’s book was awarded to Wendy Hartmann (author) and Marjorie van Heerden (illustrator) for Nina and Little Duck published by Human & Rousseau (SA) in 2007 (also available in Afrikaans as Nina en Eendjie).

Nina, Simon, and Mr and Mrs Rajah, together with their cat and dog, all live on a quaint little street where shops and houses are built right next door to each other. Mr and Mrs Rajah own a shop on this street. Their house is part of the shop. Next to it is an entrance to the garden where they store a few things. It is charming, just the kind of place a duck would love to make a nest. Nina and Simon spend a lot of time playing close to Mr and Mrs Rajah’s house and shop. They often stop for a chat and sometimes go into the garden to play games. Little Duck also spends a lot of time in the street and around the shop. After a long search, she recently moved into the Rajah’s garden to raise her family. And this is where the adventures of Little Duck and her ducklings, Max, Molly and Martin really start. The text is supported by humorous and charming rhymes and illustrations that warm the heart and tickle the tummy.

Nina and Little Duck (English) - ISBN 978-0-7981-4824-5
Nina en Eendjie (Afrikaans) - ISBN 978-0-7981-4825-2
Written by Wendy Hartmann and Illustrated by Marjorie van Heerden
Published by Human & Rousseau Publishers (SA) [Aug 2007]
Format (soft cover): 280mm x 215mm; 64 pages
Readership: Toddlers, Read aloud & New Readers

Copies can be ordered from: or

For more information about Wendy, see her websites:

For more information about Marjorie, see her websites:

The Goblet Club
- The M.E.R Prize for best youth novel was awarded to S.A. Partridge for The Goblet Club published by Human & Rousseau (SA) in 2007.

The Goblet Club is a Gothic novel in the tradition of the highly successful Harry Potter series, but with distinctly South African features and set in a mysterious boarding school somewhere on the South African platteland. When Mark is sent to St Matthew's College for Boys, it is one more punishment for years of bad behaviour. The school has a reputation for knocking boys like him into shape, run with an iron fist by the sinister headmaster, Mr Crabtree. As soon as he arrives, Mark enters a sinister world of questions: what is Mr Crabtree's secret, and why does he have a miserable sixteen-year-old secretary? Are his new friends who they say are? Mark sets out to find answers, with his friends, Trent, Vlad and Francis. Together, they are the Goblet Club, dedicated to the study of poisons. They begin to use their potions to rid the school of a plague of rats, but as Mark is drawn deeper in, their thoughts turn to murder…

The Goblet Club - ISBN: 9780798148788
Written by S.A. Partridge
Published by Human & Rousseau Publishers (SA) [Oct 2007]
Format (soft cover): 213mm x 137mm; 144 pages
Copies can be ordered from: or;

For more information about Sally-Ann, see her websites:


Katrina Harris award

Katrina Harris, 1914 -1978

The Katrina Harries Award was for many years the only Children’s book award for illustration in South Africa, but for the last 10 years it has been dormant. It has been resurrected by the efforts of Thomas van der Walt, Unisa's Children's Literature Research Unit (CLRU) and will again from this year be awarded.

About the award:

The Katrine Harries Award for Children's Book Illustrations honours the work of a South African illustrator for a book published in the preceding two years. The illustrator must be a permanent South African citizen. The prize is named after the well-known South African artist Katrina Harris who won the first two awards in 1974 and 1976. Since 1998 the award has been managed by Unisa's Children's Literature Research Unit (CLRU). The award consists of a gold medal and is awarded biennially. (For more about Katrina Harris – see at the end of this e-mail.)

At a ceremony held at the University of Pretoria on 5 March 2008, the following awards were announced:
The 1999-2001, 2002-2003 and 2004-5 awards went to Piet Grobler for Doctor Me Di Cin / Dokter Me Di syn Human & Rousseau (2001), Toepa-toepa towery Protea (2003), Net een slukkie, padda! / Please Frog, just one sip! Human & Rousseau (2002), Die spree met foete Human & Rousseau (2002), Het Vogeljes ABC Lemniscaat (2005), Makwelane en die krokodil Human & Rousseau (2004) and Mia se ma / Mia's mom Human & Rousseau (2005) respectively.
The 2007 award went to Emily Bornoff for Prinses van die Afrikavlaktes Lapa (2006).



Piet Grobler vir Dokter Me Di Syn. H&R. (2001)

Eervol vermeld:

Jude Daly vir The Star-Bearer. Frances Lincoln. (2001)

Fiona Moodie vir Noko and the Night Monster. Frances Lincoln. (2001)

Niki Daly vir Fly, eagle, fly! Tafelberg. (2000)

Niki Daly, Jamela’s dress. Tafelberg. (1999)


Piet Grobler vir Toepa-toepa towery . Protea. (2003); Net een slukkie, padda!. H&R. (2002) en Die Spree met foete. H&R. (2002)

Eervol vermeld

Niki Daly vir One round moon. Songololo (2003).


Piet Grobler vir Het Vogeltjes ABC. Lemniscaat. (2005); Makwelane en die krokodil. H&R. (2004) & Mia se ma. H&R. (2005)

Eervol vermeld

Natalie Hinrichsen vir Roep die maan (Tell the moon). Tafelberg (2005)

Tamsin Hinrichsen vir We want tails (Ons soek sterte). Tafelberg. (2005)

Vian Oelofsen vir Hou vas, Seekoei H&R. (2005) en My sussie se tande. Lapa. (2004)

Emily Bornhoff vir Maroelaboomstories. Lapa. (2005)


Emily Bornhoff ir Prinses van die Afrikavlaktes. Lapa. (2006)

Eervol vermeld

Piet Grobler vir Sky Blue Accident. Groundwood Books. (2006)

Joan Rankin vir Theo die biblioteekkat; Theo en die sirkus; Theo en die kattekwaad. Lapa. (2007)

Shayle Bester vir The Cool Nguni. Jacana. (2007); Three friends and a taxi. Jacana. (2007)

Flip Hattingh vir My oupa Hoenders. Tafelberg. (2007)

Marna Hattingh vir Leander en Louise (Tiger and Louise). Tafelberg. (2007)

Fiona Moodie vir Fynbos feëtjies. Umuzi (2007)


Katrina Harris

Katrina was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1914. As a child she loved drawing and she often did illustrations for the stories she read. After school she studied art - the self portrait above was done during this time. Because she was Jewish she and her mother left Germany during the Second World War (1939) and moved to Cape Town and after a couple of years she started to do illustrations for periodicals and books . Her reputation as illustrator and designer was already firmly established when she was appointed to a part time teaching post at the Michealis School of Fine Art. She however continued to do illustration work.

As an illustrator of outstanding talent and sensitivity Katrina Harries made an important contribution to the raising of the standards of book production in South Africa, and par­ticularly of children's books in Afri­kaans. Her charming and often gently humorous drawings earned for her the warm appreciation of the authors with whom she worked. The value of her work as an illustra­tor was recognized by several prizes awarded her by the South African Library Association.

Her work as an independent draughtsman on paper, etching plate or lithographic stone is as importance as her book illustrations. Her drawings and graphic works have from the begin­ning been held in high regard by all true art lovers and earned her a Merit Award of the Cape Tercente­nary Foundation and a Medal of Honour of the Suid-Afrikaanse Aka­demie vir Wetenskap en Kuns. Katrina Harries was a quietly coura­geous, modest, somewhat reserved person, completely honest and highly critical of herself and of her own work. In the Michaelis School of Fine Art she established a depart­ment of graphic art which, under her gentle but firm guidance, developed into one of the strongest and sound­est departments of that School. Quite a few of our established children’s book illustrators were lucky to have been students of her… Paddy Bouma, Joan Rankin and Marjorie van Heerden. Her influence can bee seen in their work.

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