Books We Read, Books We Loved and Books We Reviewed in 2022… – se7en


Best Adult Read: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Best Local Read: When the Village Sleeps by Sindiwe Magona.

Best Teen Read: A Cuban Girls Guide to Tea and Tomorrow written by Laura Taylor Namey

Best Middle Grade: Pony by R.J. Palacio.

Best Kids’ Non-Fiction: Inventors, Bright Minds and Other Science Heroes of South Africa, written by Engela Duvenage and illustrated by Tumi K. Steyn.

Best Afrikaans Read: My Hart is Oppi Plaas deur Wendy Maartens en illustrasies deur Linki Brand.

Best Picture Book: Vetplant Fairies by Fiona Moodie, Ingrid de Kok and Antjie Krog

Read About Our Favourites

If you want to read a particular review, just click through on the link below the image… they are all there.

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Se7en Reviews The South African Science Book of the Year: Inventors, Bright Minds and Other Science Heroes of South Africa, written by Engela Duvenage and illustrated by Tumi K. Steyn. This book has everything… History, science, innovation, technology, exploration, biology, medicine… there is so much in this book. This is an arm chair scientist’s dream, a fact checkers resource and an all round fascination for curious kids of every age. This is an empowering book, full of South African heroes, there is a whole section on Nobel Prize winners. Representation is key, kids need to see and hear about people from their own cultures that do great things and certainly a science reference book like this is something that school libraries all over South Africa has been missing, even if they didn’t realise it. You can read my review further in the online journal, Science for South Africa QUEST.

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The Torchbearer Series, written by Wendy Maartens and illustrated by Linki Brand: This is a powerful collection of beautifully illustrated stories about incredible South African women, who have overcome enormous hurdles and followed their hearts. From scientists to artists, doctors to poets, older women to school girls there is someone for everyone in these books. Highly recommend this collection for high schoolers, who are looking for more than just the facts, in the biography reports.

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My Summer Reading Stack from Pan Macmillan South Africa: When the Village Sleeps by Sindiwe Magona… Take me back to this beautiful book. I loved it, a genuine South African saga… the journey of a young girl, growing up in Khayalitsha, and her granny was a domestic worker in Bishopscourt. It is the story of her coming of age, her return to her roots in the Eastern Cape and her survival… our heroine is feisty, she makes mistakes, she fights for her rights and more than that she overcomes. A wonderful story of grit and grace… I loved it.

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Books and Videos to Celebrate World Ocean’s Day: The Pocket Guide to Sharks of the World: This book is an incredibly beautiful resource, a huge effort to get all the details of sharks throughout the world. I love the feel of the book, it’s A5 a strong soft cover book, that can definitely withstand accompanying you on shoreline adventures. This book is a must have for ocean loving families, especially shark lovers. Also, in this post I wrote about the Explore the Shore Youtube Channel, if you love local and you love the ocean, then this is amazing. Click through for all the details

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Latest And Greatest Reads from Penguin Random House South Africa: Collection of old favourites… Hello, Tannie Maria in the Milk Tart Murders. This series is just the best, local South African content, that is packed with nostalgic South African feasts, and a crime to solve it is all good. And my absolute favourite, My Book of the Year: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I could not read this book fast enough and I could not have been sadder when it was over. Every inch of this book, was quirky, funny, sad… all the emotions and just wonderful. Elizabeth Zott is the female protagonist in a male dominated world of science in the sixties… not too much has changed and I found myself outright laughing at some of the absurdities, and also not laughing because, “say hello to the actual truth.” Elizabeth Zott is possibly one of my favourite protagonists ever, she doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone… this book is an unexpected read, and I absolutely loved it.

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This Week’s Book Stack From Jonathan Ball Children’s Book Publishers: There is a lot to love in this list… If you have chapter reading kids that are ready for true crime then Violet Veil Mysteries are excellent. Raven Winter was the most beautiful story, just the title and the cover… and then once in, it just got better and better!!! Also discovered Ross Welford and all his amazing stories, why is there not more acclaimm for this childrens’ author? Finally in this post was my Teen Read for the Year: A Cuban Girls Guide to Tea and Tomorrow written by Laura Taylor Namey. This is a really sweet teen read about a Miami girl who has everything going for her, including dating the high school hunk, and her career in catering all worked out. Until everything falls apart, within days. She solves her troubles by running, so off she goes: running and running and running… her parents are worried about her and decide to send from all that is familiar to stay with her aunt and uncle in England… it is predictable, it is a love story (nothing more than a kiss), it is sweet and just grown up enough for a new to teen reader to try out the genre.

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This Week’s Book Stack from Penguin Random House Kids: Kid Read of the year: Pony by R.J. Palacio. Wow. This book is out of this world exceptional… from the cover I was expecting a sweet book, a pony story, forget that!!! This is a vintage story about a boy who doesn’t realise that his best friend, and people from his past, are not actually visible to everyone. There is a cowboy-esque, adventure spirit to this book has he ventures out to find and rescue his father, who has been kidnapped on the American Plains. Silas finds himself on a perilous journey through the wildest west… having to trust extremely untrustworthy characters, and make decisions far bigger than a twelve year old heart is ready to make. I love that the author expects more from the middle grade readers, interspersing quotes and poetry within the book. This is a stunner, and as the story gathers pace towards the final crashing crescendo the pages cannot turn fast enough.

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Afrikaans Books We Have Been Reading for School This Year: And our favourite Afrikaans book of the year turned out to be a small unsung hero… My Hart is Oppi Plaas deur Wendy Maartens en illustrasies deur Linki Brand. This is actually a colouring book, a collection of Afrikaans idioms that all include a farm animal. Each double page spread includes the idiom and then loads of fun facts about the relevant animal. My kids loved this one and looked forward to Afrikaans lessons with this one.


Celebrating Heritage Month With Books: Hard Call between The World of African Wildlife and Protect our Planet, both of them five star books… and then our Picture Book of the Year has to be Vetplant Fairies by by Fiona Moodie, Ingrid de Kok and Antjie Krog. Every page has the most exquisite illustration, absolutely packed with tiny details and a poem to match. I love that there are little details throughout this book, for example the scientific name of each plant is printed on the page. From living stones, to the green pearl fairy, from the thorn-aloe elf to the fan-aloe elf… this book is magical.


Se7en Reviews: Hiking Cape Town and Hiking Trails of South Africa: Hiking Cape Town is a great handbook to pop onto you hiking inspiration shelf… and if you are planning to try new hikes in the year, instead of the same usual ones again and again, then this is a must read. Packed with loads of local routes that we haven’t tried yet.

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Se7en Reviews: WITH (-OUT) YOU… by Beryl Botman: Read the hard books, folks and this one is a tough read. A year in the life of Beryl Botman that lost her husband and how she survived, recovered and pushed through the pain. A year of bravery and a brave book to write.

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Se7en Reviews: Women of Soil Changing Lives: I loved this inspirational book, a collection of stories from women who have changed their lives and those of their communities, through the Soil for Life Vegetable Garden Programme… packed with tips and ideas, this book is a gem.

Step Back in Time…


Books We Read, Books We Loved and Books We Reviewed in 2021…

Publishers Referred to in This Post.

Massive thank you to all these publishers for supplying us with books for review purposes… what a year for reading… definitely looking forward to 2022…

  1. Jonathan Ball Publishers.
  2. Penguin Random House, South Africa.
  3. Penguin Random Kids, South Africa.
  4. Lapa Uitgewers.
  5. Struik Nature.
  6. PanMacmillan, South Africa

Wishing ALL our followers a wonderful year of reading, our book stacks will start rolling out again next week!!!

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