Blogging Events | Travel the World in Books

Travel the World in Books Readathon, Day 13- Guest Post from Crystal’s Tiny Treasures


General Event Info

What our readathon is all about:

Explore countries other than the one you live in. Read as much as you can of books set in a different country or by an author from a different country. Read for your own pleasure or learning, read with your kids or both. Travel the world from the comfort of your own home and learn about different cultures. Expand your horizons and show publishers that #WeNeedDiverseBooks to promote cultural understanding and diversity in our reading. Support diverse authors and books. #TraveltheWorldinBooksRAT

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Guest Post from Crystal’s Tiny Treasures: Review of The Herd Boy and Kids’ Craft

Today I am happy to have a mom blogging friend, Crystal from Crystal’s Tiny Treasures, on the blog to discuss one of her favorite kids books about South Africa and an adorable craft to do with the kids. I enjoy Crystal’s blog for the cute kids crafts and educational games she shares. She’s lived in Japan and shared a lovely Cherry Blossom Scroll that I just loved. I knew she’d be perfect to share a great book and craft with us. Welcome Crystal to Mom’s Small Victories and our Travel the World in Books Readathon!


Crystal's Tiny Treasures


The Herd Boy by Niki Daly

Travel the World with a book and a craft

My children and I love to read books from around the world, and we also enjoy bringing books to life with crafts, recipes, and activities.  Unfortunately, multicultural books aren’t very easy to find here in Northern Ireland, especially at our local library so we made a trip to a larger town to see what they had available.  I found a few choices and brought them home to read with the children, and the one that stood out for us was The Herd Boy by Niki Daly.

I’m so pleased to be able to take part in the Travel The World In Books Read-a-thon! I’m Canadian, and I’ve lived in Japan and I’ve done a little travelling.  I’m currently living in Northern Ireland with my husband and our two children.  

The Herd Boy

The Herd Boy is very inspiring.  The illustrations invoke the feeling of being in a hot, dusty climate with the subtle sounds of nature surrounding you.  This book introduces many local words in an easy-to-understand context (there’s also a glossary at the back, if needed).

The Herd Boy is set in rural South Africa and is about Malusi, a young boy who herds sheep and goats for his grandpa in the mountains of Transkei.  Malusi dreams of becoming president, which is quite an aspiration for a herd boy.  His friend, Lungisa laughs at the thought while himself wanting to play football for Bafana-Bafana.

Life for Malusi is very different from our Western lives.  He does his work with bare feet.  He collects some dung to take to the village shopkeeper for his vegetable garden.  In exchange, Malusi’s family will get some fresh vegetables.  He’s fascinated by the termites and dung beetles working hard in the harsh heat of mid-day.

Malusi enjoys taking a break for lunch and having some fun with his friend, Lungisa.  They play two-man football and stick-fighting.  But it’s not all fun and games for Malusi.  His job can also be dangerous.

One day while Malusi is out tending to the herd, a baboon comes down from the cliffs and attacks one of the sheep.  Malusi calls for help and scares the baboon away, by shouting and throwing rocks, but not before the sheep is injured.

While walking back to his village, carrying the sheep he, wonders how he will explain his failure to keep the herd safe to his grandfather.  Along the way a shiny, expensive car stops.  Who can it be?  The old man chats to the boys and doesn’t laugh when he discovers Malusi’s dream.  He tells Malusi, “A boy who looks after his herd will make a fine leader.”  That person was none other than President Nelson Mandela himself!

That night Malusi falls asleep with those words in his head.

We’ve chosen to make some sheep to go along with this book.  We see sheep in the fields when we walk to the next village or if we’re out driving.  The life of farmers in Northern Ireland is much different from the life of Malusi, and we thought this would be a nice way to think about the similarities and differences between our cultures.  Both have their own hardships as well as benefits.

To make a little herd of sheep like ours, you’ll need just a few supplies:

Pom Pom Sheep supplies

  • Pom Poms of 3 different sizes
  • White/PVA/School Glue
  • a drinking straw or pipe cleaner
  • wiggly eyes
  • yarn or felt for the mouth
  • felt or fun foam for the ears

And here’s how we made our sheep:

Glue the pom poms together using the largest pom pom as the body, the medium one for the head and the smallest for the tail.

Cut the drinking straw.  You’ll need 4 pieces the same size.  I’d suggest that you should make them a little longer than you think you’ll need them.

Fine Motor Practice while making a sheep craft

Dip one end of each straw piece into the glue and then firmly press it into the sheep’s underside for the legs.  Then let your sheep dry upside-down.  Alternatively, cut a pipe cleaner into 2 pieces, fold, and glue under the sheep’s belly.

Glue the eyes and mouth onto the head.  Cut our little ovals from the felt or fun foam to create some floppy ears to glue onto the head.

If your sheep doesn’t stand on its own, now is the time to carefully cut the legs all to the same size.  They may not be cut straight, but cut so that they’ll all be flat on the table to stand.

Pom Pom sheep craft for the book The Herd Boy

My children think their sheep are so cute, and they’re looking forward to making a colourful herd…they’re asking for pink, red, and blue.  This will be a nice lead-in to a discussion about how everyone is different, and yet the same.

My children like to dream big.  My son would like to be an astronaut:  truly a world ambassador. Crafting, especially junk crafts are a good way to learn to be creative and problem solve with what you have around.  Learning about other cultures opens up the mind to new ways of thinking and doing.

What ways do you find to help your children to prepare for their dreams?

Crystal McClean of Crystal's Tiny Treasures

Follow Crystal

Crystal McClean is a Canadian who is homeschooling her young family in Northern Ireland.  Her family loves to learn about culture and they find it fun to do this by reading books, creating activities and recipes as well as attending cultural events when they can.  You can learn more about their adventures at Crystal’s Tiny Treasures or follow along via Facebook, Twitter, G+, or Pinterest.

Co-Host Becca from Lost in Books Takes Us Away to Australia and the Pacific Islands


Today, my lovely co-host is sharing her recommendations for books to read for Australia and the Pacific Islands. Warning: her posts are dangerous to your TBR, there are so many great recommendations you’ll want to add and read right away. She has one for each region, you’ll want to check them all out. Thanks for sharing with us Becca.

Feedback Form

Our Readathon officially ends tomorrow, September 14, 2014 at 11:59pm EST. Please complete the feedback form and let us know what you enjoyed about the event and what you’d like to see for future events. We hope you’ve enjoyed the event as much as Savvy Working Gal, Lost in Books and I have!

Giveaways and Prize Form

We hope you’ve entered the giveaways! We have 33 copies of 19 books from around the world and 2 of them are great for your kids! There is something for everyone, a great mix of mystery, women’s fiction, nonfiction and from lots of different countries.

Remember to fill out the prize form so that we know what you’d like to win!

Join the Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge

The fun does not have to end tomorrow, sign up for our full Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge. Set your own timeline, goals and countries you’d like to read about. You choose your own adventure in our no-stress challenge. Participants can link up their book reviews by continent to share their recommendations with other readers and you can pin your posts to our Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge Pinterest Board.

What types of books and crafts do your kids enjoy? We hope you give us your thoughts on the event so far and enter to win these great giveaways. We can’t wait to give these 33 books away to our readers!

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