Local artist Toby Newsome was awarded the Children’s Africana Book Award (Caba) for his illustrations in the children’s book Grandma’s List.
Renowned Cape Town-based artist Toby Newsome has been awarded the internationally coveted Children’s Africana Book Award (Caba) for his illustrations in the children’s book, Grandma’s List.

The book was written by Ghanaian author Portia Dery, who jointly won the Caba with Newsome.

Grandma’s List, in a powerful literary partnership between Ghana and South Africa, tells the colourful story of 8-year-old Fatima, who wants to save the day by helping her grandmother complete her list of errands.

The problem is, Fatima loses the list and has to recall from memory what was written on it. The rest of story then takes the reader on a funny and heartwarming adventure with Fatima and her family.

The Children’s Africana Book Award is an annual prize presented to authors and illustrators of the best children’s and young adult books on Africa published or republished in the USA.

The award was created by Africa Access and the Outreach Council of the African Studies Association, and its sponsors include the African Studies departments of Harvard, Howard and Yale universities.

Past winning illustrators of the Caba include South Africa’s Niki Daly, also in Cape Town.

Grandma’s List, published by African Bureau Stories (a pan-African publishing house in Accra, Ghana) won the 2018 Caba Young Children’s category along with two other books from international publishers: Candlewick Press and Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Grandma’s List previously won the Golden Baobab Prize for the Best Picture Book Manuscript in Africa in 2014.

Caba reviewer from the University of Pennsylvania, Anastasia Shown, said Grandma’s List was an excellent read-aloud book for school or storytime.

“The illustrations show a neighbourhood in Ghana typical of many African towns with shops, gardens, small livestock, and many people outside working and playing. One of the best features of the book is the characters of many ages.

‘‘There are kids playing, vendors selling, teens on their phones, grown-ups working, and elders relaxing.

“They wear African prints and Western-styled clothes.

“The book can generate lots of great open-ended questions,” she said.