Book-sharing for Families

The Mikhulu Child Development Trust’s first programme was the “Book-sharing for Families”. Through this programme, community-based organisations bring book-sharing to families of young children*. The programme is made up of weekly sessions, running for anything between 4 to 8 weeks. There are three programmes depending on the ages of children:

  • Book-sharing for Babies, for families of children aged 1 – 2,
  • Book-sharing for Toddlers, for families of children aged 2 – 3 and
  • Book-sharing for Young Children, for families of children aged 3 – 5.

If you would like help on selecting which programme is best suited for your work, send us an email at

*”Parent” can refer to any caregiver providing regular care for a young child.

Book-sharing for Fathers

Book-sharing for Families is a very special programme – but we noticed that there were not many fathers* joining the programme. We decided to adapt the programme to be more attractive for fathers. We are doing this as part of a research study on fatherhood that was started in August 2021.

This study is being conducted with 70 fathers of children aged 1 – 2 in Gugulethu, a suburb of Cape Town. The purpose of the research study is to:

  1. Identify the best ways to adapt the programme that will help attract more fathers,
  2. Test the newly adapted programme for both child and father outcomes and
  3. Deliver the programme to CBO partners.

Through this research, we will be testing:

  • Fathers’ interests in participating in a programme with their young children, and where fathers participate,
  • Children’s education outcomes,
  • Children’s risk factors for later violence (read here about how children’s early life experiences impact their later violence outcomes) and
  • Father outcomes on parental sensitivity and reciprocity.

* “Father” means biological or social fathers who are in regular contact with the young child they are parenting.

Book-sharing for classrooms

In 2018, Mikhulu Trust adapted the “Book-sharing for Families” programme for use in ECD centres or play groups. Through “Book-sharing for classrooms”, organisations can train their ECD teachers or play group facilitators to use book-sharing with the groups of children in their care.

“Book-sharing for ECD classrooms” was evaluated in a research study in Namibia in 2020, where the programme was delivered to ECD teachers. The teachers used book-sharing in their classes, and we conducted a few assessments:

  • Teachers’ book-sharing skills
  • Children’s language development
  • Children’s ability to pay attention
  • Children’s behaviour with books

A summary of the research results can be accessed here.

A “Whole of Society” Approach

We want to reach as many parents as we can with the book-sharing programme. We have been working closely with provincial government departments in the Western Cape to integrate book-sharing into mainstream services already serving families.

We started this by integrating book-sharing into:

  • Western Cape Department of Health’s First Thousand Days programme and
  • Western Cape Libraries’ services.

We have also created pathways for parents to connect through clinics and libraries, so that the book-sharing services reinforce and support each other.

This is a 3-year project, and over the three years we intend to expand to other spheres of government services as well.

“Parentline SA”

Parentline SA is a cell-phone-based support service that provides holistic support to parents across South Africa on any parenting issues or challenges. The mission of Parentline SA is “SAPPIN builds toward a secure future for all who live in South Africa by helping families create warm and non-violent homes for children”.

Parentline SA is a SAPPIN (South African Positive Parenting Implementers Network)-initiated project. SAPPIN is a network of NPO’s serving parents in South Africa

New Wordless picture books

Mikhulu Trust is developing five new wordless picture books. The new wordless books address factors that influence violence, and are intended to enable parents and. caregivers to engage with young children on issues that cause or prevent violent behaviour.

Once completed, these books will be integrated into our book-sharing programmes to help families facilitate conversations around factors that lead to violence, including violence in the home and against women and children.

We have already completed the first two books:

This book shows different ways in which families can organise their lives. It can provide many points for discussion about family life, about which members do which kinds of domestic task, and how they each experience how things are done. It offers the chance to think about how there might be different arrangements from the ‘traditional’ one, about ‘fairness’ in the way a family behaves, and about the benefits of sharing responsibilities and caring for each other, and the enjoyment that this can bring.

This book is about the resolution of conflict between children. It shows an instance of bullying and how this can be dealt with well by adults – not by aggressive discipline, but by firm and supportive negotiation. The book presents an opportunity for an adult and child to discuss children’s conflicts and how they can be resolved well.

You can view a sample of all our books here.

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