Soweto-based Glad Kaiser is the publisher and self-declared “head honcho” at his own publishing house, which occupies an extraordinary niche. Inspired by the story of the world’s youngest published author, a four-year-old American girl named Dorothy Straight (who has held the record since 1964), Kaiser wandered the yellow brick road to found Bala Books, which specialises in works by child authors. Its inception dovetailed with his team’s creation of the eponymous Glad-Kaiser method for assisting the translation of children’s imaginations into structured narratives, and which has resulted in more than 10 000 Bala Books publications in several of South Africa’s official languages. Kaiser emphasises that what we stand to learn from children is not childish, but rather childlike. His annual inter-schools book-writing competition caters to entrants from grade one to matric, with bursaries and publishing deals up for grabs.
I want South Africans to truly believe that the world is our oyster and we are allowed to think outside the box while remaining true and authentic to who we really are.