By Ruvesen Naidoo
On 1 June, Crystal Warren, manager of the Curatorial Division at Amazwi Museum of Literature, launched her new book, ‘The Best Nest,’ a book about two birds on a quest to find a new nest. The book features illustrations by Megan Vermaak, design by Ashlyn Atkinson, and is free to download in all 11 official languages.
Warren published the book on Book Dash, an amazing website that gathers together creative professionals who volunteer to create new, African storybooks that anyone can freely translate, print and distribute. Book Dash believes that every child should own one hundred books by the age of five, and has hundreds of books free to download on the site.
Warren has lived in Makhanda for all her adult life and is also a poet. Her poems have been widely published in South African literary journals – her first collection was Bodies of Glass and her most recent is Predictive Text, published by Modjaji Press in 2019. She was formerly the editor of New Coin poetry magazine.
Zongezile Matshoba, Manager of education and public programmes at Amazwi, had advised Warren that Youth Month would be a good month for a children’s book launch. Warren shares that although her job requires her to oversee the museum’s collections and research functions, she wrote the book in her personal capacity, not as an Amazwi publication.
While the book can be either read or downloaded on the website ‘book dash’ for free, Warren says that “Book Dash also prints copies of some books, which they mostly distribute to children who wouldn’t otherwise have access to books”. There is also a hard copy of the book at Amazwi available to read.
For those interested, Warren also has hard copies of her new book which can be directly purchased from her. Her contact details are 046 6622 7042 or email CrystalAWarren@gmail.com