Cape Town - Cape Town book author and mom of two, Vennessa Scholtz, received special mention at the Paris Book Festival honouring her second children’s book, “Kita’s Dance with Dust”.
The Panorama storyteller says she was chuffed to learn that her book was highlighted among 15 others in the Children’s Books category at the auspicious Paris Book Festival held in April this year. Even though the festival was already held, entries into the festival were open until August. Having her name in the list of honourable mentions was a special achievement for Scholtz, who works in communications at the City of Cape Town.
It’s also the second time the story makes headlines.
In 2016, “Kita and the Dusty Red Road” won the Golden Baobab Picture Book Prize. Golden Baobab is an African NPO promoting literature and reading on the continent.
Now printed by acclaimed publishers LAPA, “Kita’s Dance with Dust” has only been on shelves since the beginning of August.
Scholtz grew up in Kraaifontein, attended Eikendal Primary and matriculated from Scottsville Senior Secondary.
After graduating as a journalist from CPUT, she started working as a court reporter for the “Cape Argus” in 1991, and ended her journalism career at Africa Community Media in 2013.
Scholtz said she was filled with pride when she received a comment from judges saying: “A unique setting and an important lesson for children make this one a winner. We look forward to more from this talented author.”
The former “Cape Argus” journalist added: “This book tells the story of Kita who doesn’t quite do as she’s told, lands in a spot of trouble and is ultimately rescued by her mother, an ode to mothers from the author.
“Hopefully, it’s a subtle lesson about how actions have consequences.”
Scholtz says the children’s book writing bug first bit her in 2016.
“It wasn’t a consideration until I sat down in 2016 to write something for Golden Baobab. While it may seem writing for children is easy, they are discerning readers.
“My parents, specially my father, are avid readers. They instilled a love for reading and when books were too expensive, we had a daily newspaper, and weekend papers, without fail.”
Scholtz said her mission is to entertain and encourage people to read and also highlights the style of writing when aimed at children.
“My hope is my stories will entertain and encourage reading. While there’s a lesson in each, it is hopefully subtle, as children know when you’re talking down to them or you’re trying to ‘educate’ them when all they want to do is play and have fun. Reading should be an enjoyable activity and I sincerely hope my books encourage reading as such.
“To be a writer, you have to be a reader. Read as much as possible – the genres you love and those you don't.
“Writers are generous with advice and there are lots of groups who can assist once you've made a start or need to add finishing touches.”
Last year another book by Scholtz, “Ellie and the Good Hair Fairy” also received an honourable mention.
The striking illustrations in her recent book, are the work of international award-winning illustrator Marjorie van Heerden.
The book is available at Bargain Books, Reader’s Warehouse, Wordsworth, Exclusive Books and others and range from R150.