Some of the characters out of the 16 books.

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The Bright Books Literacy Series consists of:

Eleven graded reader/activity books (Grade/Level 1)
Bright Books Teacher’s Guide - Grade 1
My Bright Books Workbook

Four graded reader/activity books (Grade/Level 2)
Bright Books Educator's Guide - Grade 2

Bright Books reader/activity book (Grade/Level 3)
Bright Books Educators Guide - Guide 3

Four Bright Books wall charts:
ISBN 000ES2041A: ABC
ISBN 000ES2042A: Numbers
ISBN 000ES2043A: Animals in their environments
ISBN 000ES2044A: People and places


About the Bright Books Literacy Series:

The Bright Books Literacy Series was conceptualised, written and illustrated by Marjorie van Heerden (see her CV at http://www.marjorie-cv.blogspot.com/). It provides tools for educators to facilitate learners in the development of basic literacy skills during the first three years of schooling (grades 1 to 3) and a unique series of full-colour, illustrated activity-based books for beginner readers.

Marjorie: “I believe that many of South Africa’s children have untapped potential. I believe any healthy child has the potential to become a creative, productive adult if they are provided care, professional guidance, suitable stimulation and good quality resources (most of all, books!) at a very early stage of their education. For this reason I poured my heart into this project, the Bright Books, for the children of South Africa. I have tried to create a literacy series that will give our young children a good, broad grounding.”

The primary objective of the Bright Books is to guide learners along the early steps towards learning to read and write. But the author’s approach is innovative and, although applicable throughout the English-speaking world, the series is tailored for the South African youth. Throughout the books in the series the young reader will learn a tremendous amount about values and life in general, in subtle addition to “school work” like basic maths concepts that form the core of each story. The author has managed to tell the stories in such a manner that the tale and the characters come first, while the lessons are unobtrusive, discreet and learnt through the fun of reading and enjoying the pictures.

These books are intended to provide so much fun that the kids won’t even notice that they are learning to read while they are enjoying the Bright Books.

About the Bright Books for Grade 1:
(Grades 2 & 3 below)


*Eleven full-colour activity-based readers each containing 4-5 stories, lists of Bright words and Bright things to do.

*A Teacher’s Guide with assessment guidelines and critical and specific outcomes alongside a wealth of activities.

*A pupil’s Workbook.

*Four wall charts


The eleven readers form the core of an exciting South African activities-based reading scheme that appeals to all children. The fun characters, familiar surroundings and stimulating activities turn reading into a colourful adventure. The eleven books are vibrant with fun stories and appealing illustrations that encourage visual literacy. The stories and the delightful, humorous illustrations were created by one of the country’s leading children’s writers, Marjorie van Heerden.

The set of Bright Books created for Grade 1 learners form a progressive course, starting with Book 1 (The cat book) all the way through to Book 11 (The chicken book). Each story could be “read” without the words, but each illustration has some words associated with it and those words are also listed at the end of the story. For example, the very first story “A cat in a cap” is followed by 9 “Bright words” (a; cap; in; look; where; and; cat; is; the). The second story “A fat cat” uses the same words and introduces two new ones (fat & fish). Each story is then followed by suggested activities (Bright things to do) which use the same words in fun ways to associate the written word with the object and/or the context it refers to. These are simple introductory steps to reading, taken in such a way that the learner is stimulated and often amused, while constantly developing the basic skills of literacy. Progressively, the eleven books expand the vocabulary or the learner and the complexity of the content. The eleven readers are accompanied by a detailed Teacher’s Guide of 399 pages.

In developing the eleven Grade 1 books, the author first identified and analysed various areas of development in the young child and then wrote a story to address each area. She listed a number of elements in each story suitable for discussions and or practical activities for the learners. Those activities were then formulated by professional educators, listed after each story as Bright things to do and also covered in the Teacher’s Guide.

While the books focus primarily on the development of literacy skills, the subjects chosen for the stories cover a wide range of areas, including counting and basic maths concepts, spatial awareness, (concepts like up, down, in, out, over, under); shapes; opposites; food groups; safety; night and day; naming the body parts; emotions and many more. The stories offer a wealth of delightful illustrations and familiar situations to stimulate and encourage visual literacy and to draw the learner into amusing stories. The situations and characters described and the colourful illustrations are often humorous and this creates an easy, light-hearted learning situation, where the development of reading skills is associated with pleasure. (Marjorie van Heerden regards the development and retention of reading-for-pleasure habits as a fundamental and very important challenge in the new South Africa).

The cat book - Book 1 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: The cat book introduces learners to the many pleasures of literacy. The young learner is drawn irresistibly into the bright and colourful world of the Bright Books characters. Learning to read and discovering life become an exciting adventure. The cat book contains 5 stories: A cat in a cap; A fat cat; An ant; A big box; Where is the fish?, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 1
The cat book
– soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 42 pgs
ISBN 0625026713

The snake book - Book 2 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: The snake book brings the learner many new pleasures to be discovered through literacy. Familiar Bright Books characters engage young learners in the exciting adventure of learning to read and learning about their world. The snake book contains 4 stories: A fish in the water; A big snake; Lots of oranges; A hungry dog, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 2
The snake book
– soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 40 pgs
ISBN 0625026721

The goat book - Book 3 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: In The goat book learners encounter more of the pleasures of literacy. The young learner continues to explore and enjoy the bright and colourful world of Bright Books characters. The goat book contains 4 stories: The egg in the nest; A cat and a dog; A small goat; Under the umbrella, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 3
The goat book
– soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 48 pgs
ISBN 062502673X

The monkey book - Book 4 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: The learner explores the pleasures of a variety of outcomes for. The familiar Bright Books characters guide the learner through concepts such as opposites, shape and appropriate social behaviour to make learning to read and learning about life a fun-filled adventure. The monkey book contains 4 stories: Fig jam; Hot water, cold water; The kite; A monkey, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 4
The monkey book
– soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 44 pgs
ISBN 0625026748

The zebra book - Book 5 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: The zebra book combines fantasy with familiarity to allow the learner to explore more of the pleasures of literacy. The familiar right Books characters guide the learner through rural and urban settings to discover more about their world. The zebra book contains 4 stories: A pig and a pumpkin; Zebra crossing; A dark night; A queen on a quiet night, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 5
The zebra book
– soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 48 pgs
ISBN 0625026756

The dog book - Book 6 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: In The dog book the learner explores life with the familiar Bright Books characters to discover that many important life skills can be acquired through literacy in an amusing way. The dog book contains 4 stories: Time to tidy; Mamma is home; Fishing with Papa; A dog with a bone, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 6
The dog book
– soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 40 pgs
ISBN 0625026764

The mouse book - Book 7 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: Through the Bright Books characters, learners encounter some of the creatures in their world and develop their counting skills in The mouse book. The mouse book contains 4 stories: Is something inside?; Can you add?; Lots of animals; I can be quiet, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 7
The mouse book
– soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 54 pgs
ISBN 0625026772

The owl book - Book 8 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: Through the Bright Books characters, learners encounter some of the creatures in their world and develop their counting skills in The mouse book. The mouse book contains 4 stories: Is something inside?; Can you add?; Lots of animals; I can be quiet, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 7
The mouse book
– soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 54 pgs
ISBN 0625026772

The rabbit book - Book 9 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: Through the Bright Books characters, the learner develops skills related to familiar situations such as bathing and getting dressed in The rabbit book. The rabbit book contains 4 stories: Different animals; Bath time; Getting dressed; The hungry mouse, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 9
The rabbit book
– soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 48 pgs
ISBN 0625026799

The donkey book - Book 10 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: The simple stories and familiar Bright Books characters in The donkey book provide learners with the opportunity to read and talk about themselves, their families and other people in a meaningful way. The donkey book contains 4 stories: One Donkey; All about me; Vusi eats his food; Different, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 10
The donkey book
– soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 40 pgs
ISBN 0625026802

The chicken book - Book 11 of 11 (Grade 1)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: Fantasy is combined with reality in The magic chicken and the learner encounters shape in a uniquely appealing way. Other stories in The chicken book present familiar situations for the learner to read and talk about. The chicken book contains 4 stories: The magic chicken; Pulane’s first day at school; Bongani’s new friends; My brother, as well as Bright words and Bright things to do.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Book 11
The chicken book – soft cover (170 x 230mm portrait), 56 pgs
ISBN 0625026810

Bright Books wall chart: ABC

Wall Chart (580 x 900mm) - ISBN 000ES2041A
Designer/illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden

Bright Books wall chart: Numbers


Wall Chart (580 x 900mm) - ISBN 000ES2042A
Designer/illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden

Bright Books wall chart: Animals in their environments

Wall Chart (580 x 900mm) - ISBN 000ES2043A
Designer/illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden

Bright Books wall chart: People and places

Wall Chart (580 x 900mm) - ISBN 000ES2044A
Designer/illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden

My Bright Books Workbook – Grade 1

Authors and illustrators: Marjorie van Heerden, Eileen Richards & Val Zaborowski
Book user: Learner
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: The Bright Books Workbook is one of the components of the Bright Books Literacy Series. It is filled with practical and interesting activities designed to guide the learner towards achieving outcomes for the Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills learning programmes for the Foundation Phase. Suggestions for assessment of each activity can be found in the Grade 1 Teacher’s Guide.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Learner's Workbook
My Bright Books Workbook
– soft cover (210 x 295mm portrait), 144 pgs
ISBN 062502687X

Bright Books Literacy Series – Educator’s Guide – Grade 1

Author: Contents compiled by Nasou Publishers and Marjorie van Heerden
Illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Educator
Category: English Grade 1

SUMMARY: The Bright Books Grade 1 Teacher's Guide is a vital component of the Bright Books Literacy series. This series guides learners through the acquisition of literacy to the achievement of the knowledge, skills and values for lifelong learning. The Teacher’s Guide provides a wealth of material and a clear structure for using the Bright Books Literacy Series.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 1 - Educator’s Guide
Teacher’s Guide
– soft cover (170 x 245mm portrait), 399 pgs
ISBN 0625026829


About the Bright Books for Grade 2:

  • Four full-colour graded reader/activity books, each containing 5-6 stories.

  • An Educator’s Guide for Grade 2 educators that facilitates holistic learning and skills and provides suggested activities based on the stories in the four Grade 2 reader/activity books.

  • Four wall charts


In the Bright Books Literacy Series the eleven Grade 1 readers are followed by a set of four reader/activity books for Grade 2. In this second set of stories and activities (Bright things to do) the acquisition of literacy is continued on a more advanced level. Simultaneously Marjorie van Heerden has subtly shifted the thematic focus of the 23 stories she wrote and illustrated for these four books, each set in the season it will be used, The summer book, The autumn book, The winter book and The spring book. In the Grade 2 set of readers the author put the thematic focus subtly (and always cloaked in a interesting story with stimulating full-colour illustrations) on the acquisition of and respect for codes of social behaviour.


The stories, always populated by amusing and familiar characters in exciting situations and often tinged with humour, unobtrusively introduce the reader to those basic codes of social behaviour as exemplified for instance in: Respect for self and others, similar or different to yourself; Respect for the environment; Pride in who you are. While developing the learner’s reading and literacy skills, the stories also help the reader to develop self confidence, initiative and skills such as communication and entrepreneurship on a basic level.


Marjorie: “Learning the codes of social behaviour through the story format at an early age has proven to be lasting. On the other hand, learning the codes of social behaviour through an authority figure, as is so often the case, has the danger that as the child grows older there is the distinct possibility (which happens more often than not) that the child becomes disillusioned by that authority figure. Sadly, the next step, almost inevitably, is some form of violence. We have too many examples in our own society... I believe it is essential that young children should be exposed to wonderfully entertaining, stimulating and memorable stories that will help them develop literacy, a love for reading and, at the same time, subtly help them to learn the basic codes of social behaviour.”


The 23 stories in the four Grade 2 books follow a progressive curve in the development of basic literacy skills in terms of vocabulary and grammatical use of familiar and new words. At the same time the stories become progressively more complex in terms of content, situation and implication.


To develop the learner’s reading skill even further, each of the 23 stories is followed in the “Bright things to do” section by a set of games and phonics exercises that eventually cover ALL the sounds used in standard spoken English. In the “Word Fun!” section after each story a new set of words is highlighted. These words, selected from the previous story, introduce a new set of sounds in spoken English. Through phonics games and exercises the learner is taught to connect sounds with specific letters and groups of letters. At the same time s/he develops a good grounding in spelling and pronunciation.


As in the Grade 1 series, the stories for Grade 2 offer a wealth of delightful illustrations and familiar situations to stimulate and encourage visual literacy and to draw the learner into amusing stories. Once again the situations and characters described and the colourful illustrations are often humorous, providing an easy, light-hearted learning situation, where the development of reading skills is associated with pleasure. And once again the stories reflect life in South Africa, taking special care to celebrate and reflect our wonderful multi-cultural environment.

The summer book - Book 1 of 4 (Grade 2)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 2

SUMMARY: The summer Book contains six stories that are designed to bridge Grade 1 and Grade 2 and enable the learners to develop more challenging skills.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 2 - Book 1
The summer book
soft cover (170 x 245mm portrait), 76 pgs
ISBN 0625027450

The autumn book - Book 2 of 4 (Grade 2)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 2

SUMMARY: The autumn books is the second of four graded reader/activity books in the Bright Books Literacy Series for Grade 2. It contains five stories, all full of fantasy, humour and colour that will appeal to the young learner.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 2 - Book 2
The autumn book – soft cover (170 x 245mm portrait), 70 pgs
ISBN 0625027469

The winter book - Book 3 of 4 (Grade 2)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 2

SUMMARY: Like the other three books in the Grade 2 series, The winter book integrates the three learning programmes: Numeracy, Literacy and Life Skills. It contains six exciting stories that are designed around the phase organisers for the Foundation Phase.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 2 - Book 3
The winter book – soft cover (170 x 245mm portrait), 78 pgs
ISBN 0625027477

The spring book - Book 4 of 4 (Grade 2)

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 2

SUMMARY: The spring book is the fourth of four graded reader/activity books in the Bright Books Series for Grade 2. The stories are full of fun, fantasy, colour and inquiry that will appeal to the young learner. Like the other three books in the Grade 2 series, The spring book develops the learner’s spelling, word building and phonics skills.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 2 - Book 4
The spring book – soft cover (170 x 245mm portrait), 94 pgs
ISBN 0625027485

Bright Books Literacy Series – Educator’s Guide – Grade 2

Authors: Eileen Richards & Val Zaborowski, with Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Educator
Category: English Grade 2

SUMMARY: The Bright Books Literacy Series Educator’s Guide Grade 2 is a simple, practical guide for Grade 2 educators that facilitates holistic learning and skills. In the Guide activities are suggested, based on the 23 stories in the four Grade 2 reader/activity books. The activities are developed within the six phase organisers so that an integrated approach to learning is assured. This book also guides the educator in the use of the Bright Books Literacy Series wall charts: ABC, Numbers, Animals in the environments and People and places. The Educator’s Guide provides a wealth of material and a clear structure for using the Bright Books Literacy Series.

The Educator’s Guide, Grade 2: Suggests how the learners can create their own workbooks or portfolios and suggests many activities; Gives examples of how to make creative phonics charts for the classroom with inexpensive and readily available materials; Provides easy-to-use assessment tools and assessment grids for the educator; Provides simple guidelines on the assessment of phonics, group and self-assessment, and a host of learning strategies; Gives suggestions on how to encourage successful reading at home with parents; Emphasises achieving literacy in all eight areas of learning; Indicates assessment of the activities, clearly linking each activity with the appropriate learning area, specific outcome, and assessment criteria with the performance indicators in full.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 2 - Educator’s Guide
Educator’s Guide – soft cover (175 x 245mm portrait), 206 pgs
ISBN 0625027493

About the Bright Books for Grade 3:

  • One reader/activity book containing fourteen stories with a mixture of full-colour and monochrome illustrations and activities under the familiar Bright things to do heading after each story.
  • An Educator’s Guide for Grade 3 educators.

The Bright Books Literacy Series for the Foundation Phase culminates in an exciting and innovative Grade 3 reader/activity book (186 pages) that uses a holistic approach to learning that integrates the eight learning areas. It is also based on the growing life-experiences of the young learner. The book allows learners to discover themselves and the world around them and is full of fun, fantasy and colour. This reader for Grade 3 provides the learners with many opportunities to demonstrate outcomes such as knowledge, skills and attitudes or values, with confidence and ease. It prepares the learner for the Intermediate Phase.

The Bright Books Educator's Guide Grade 3 (160 pages) provides hints and assessment tips to enable the educator to make the learning experience an exciting and worthwhile one.

The primary objective of the Bright Books Literacy Series is the development of literacy skills, reading writing and phonics, but the series also has a strong educational focus on other levels. Whereas Marjorie van Heerden shifted the thematic focus in the Grade 2 set of books to the acquisition of and respect for codes of social behaviour, she puts the thematic focus in the single Grade 3 volume on the development of individual creativity and self-initiative.

The authentic, true to life, unusual, alarming, actual, factual book

Author and illustrator: Marjorie van Heerden
Author of Bright things to do (activities), Germs! Germs! Germs! (poem) and I’m cross with me! (poem): Eileen Richards
Author of Bright things to do (activities) and A special friend (story): Val Zaborowski
Book user: Reader
Category: English Grade 3

SUMMARY: The Bright Books Literacy Series for the Foundation Phase culminates in an exciting and innovative Grade 3 reader/activity book (186 pages) that uses a holistic approach to learning that integrates the eight learning areas. The volume contains stories, poems and activities, often amusing and always stimulating. It is entitled The authentic, true to life, unusual, alarming, actual, factual book. It also introduces the Grade 3 reader to the world outside of South Africa through the device of “pen pal” letters, ostensibly written by children of the same age, but from foreign parts of the world and from totally different cultures, such as China, Egypt, Canada and the Amazon forest in Brazil. The activities are more advanced. Learners are provided with fun, appealing material – a combination of fact and fantasy that will encourage them to discover more about the exciting, challenging and changing world they live in.

Some feedback from learners and educators: The stories are fun, stimulating and amusing; The illustrations are humorous and appealing; They love the letters, stories and activities and can easily identify with them; They develop and acquire language skills in a fun and practical way; There are many creative activities for the assessment of outcomes; There are many opportunities for them to assess themselves and their peers.

Learner's Book (Grade 3)
Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 3

Learner's Book,
Grade 3 – soft cover (170 x 245mm portrait), 186 pgs
ISBN 0625027701

Bright Books Literacy Series – Educator’s Guide – Grade 3

Authors: Eileen Richards & Val Zaborowski, with Marjorie van Heerden
Book user: Educator
Category: English Grade 3

SUMMARY: The Bright Books Literacy Series Educator’s Guide Grade 3 provides hints and assessment tips to enable the educator to make the learning experience an exciting and worthwhile one. Explanations are provid­ed for the stories and the activities and additional practical ideas are also included. Reference to the global learning programme is also indicated with each activity to assist the educator in both the planning and the recording of outcomes demonstrated by the learners. The Educator’s Guide provides a wealth of material and a clear structure for using the Bright Books Literacy Series.

Bright Books Literacy Series - Grade 3 - Educator’s Guide
Educator’s Guide – soft cover (175 x 240mm portrait), 160 pgs
ISBN 0625027698


"That's all for now, Goodnight!"