I got a book in the mail today. It was from across the ocean, a place I love and miss. Africa.
I wasn’t able to jump right in and read the finished product, so I handed it off to my 10 year old daughter. A couple of hours later, she came downstairs giggling. She could barely get through telling us about a scene in the book that sent her into a laughing fit. (This is actual footage of the event. It lasted long enough for me to get my phone out.)
Soon enough, all of us were laughing. It’s a good start for this story in our family. Though the book is thematically serious, I was glad she was enjoying some humor along the way. Our daughter is an avid reader and so far she is loving Seekers of the Lost Boy. I’m excited about connecting her with some of the history I lived through when I was near her age.
I turned 13 in South Africa the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison. I went to an all-white school for a time and an all-black (Zulu) church my father had started. I lived in South Africa when apartheid (separation of races, favoring whites) was in place, and was there later when a black family moved next door to us. This history, in a small way, is my history. I love South Africa very much. It’s my adoptive home country. I was very happy to be introduced to an author from this place so near and dear to my heart.
South African writer Taryn Hayes has penned her first novel, a children’s book set in her own Cape Town, S.A. Seekers of the Lost Boy centers on a a homeschooling family as they unravel a mystery, tracking it into South Africa’s apartheid past and through big themes like the love of God. According to Hayes, it’s an educational story, designed to delight, inspire, and teach in the Charlotte Mason tradition of “living books.”
If your family have enjoyed books like Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John (which my wife recently read to our kids –and we all loved), you will likely enjoy Seekers of the Lost Boy.
I don’t know her very well, but I have been very impressed with how she approaches her work, her family, and the graceful way she interacts with her readers and friends. She is a homeschooling mom of four kids (hey, so is my wife!) and a devoted follower of Christ. In my very minor role of someone giving feedback, she was all class and very open to my (constructive, I hope!) criticism. I won’t say we land exactly the same place in our approach to story-telling, but I can honestly say I came away from every single interaction thinking the same thing:
I’m rooting for Taryn Hayes.