New Children’s Book Shows Even Heroes Have Depression, but Teachers and Parents Can Help

“The Brave Little African Girl” by Thabitha Mathabatha teaches readers it takes a village to support children experiencing depression, but with love and encouragement, happiness is always on the horizon

Pretoria: Gauteng Province, South Africa, Sept. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- When one of the most dangerous places in the world, the African jungle, swallows a young girl whole her chances of survival seem grim. But when she emerges not only alive but with a lion cub, she learns strength, unconditional love, and how to cope with loss.


“The Brave Little African Girl” by Thabitha Mathabatha as an insightful children’s book that sends readers into the jungles of Africa where they meet Fofo- a young girl with a yearning for independence. When she ventures into the jungle alone to prove her self-sufficiency, she saves a baby lion as it is born, names the cub Angel, and brings it back to the village. However, upon her return with her new cub, tragedy strikes. Fofo is devastated when officials tell her she cannot keep Angel. As readers share Fofo’s pain, they learn it takes an entire village to help a child cope with loss.


Mathabatha experienced grief for the first time after her father passed when she was 4, and again when a dear friend passed when she was 8. Mathabatha decided to write a novel to shed light on children experiencing depression and how their loved ones and teachers can contribute to their wellbeing when looking back and processing the emotions she had experienced as a child.  She also highlights how children can be vulnerable to emotional distress from what adults would see as minor setbacks; however, when shown empathy by an adult, children can better understand how to handle various obstacles.


“The writing of this book is my journey to healing as I had to revert to the Brave Little African Girl in me. I remembered that I was brave, fierce, and forged ahead of what I wanted in life,” Mathabatha said, adding, “Even grownup girls and women can revisit the little girl in them, the little girl that they lost along the way. Parents, teachers should always appreciate the little girls and make them believe that they can be anything they want to be.”


“The importance of community and family in raising, supporting, teaching and protecting children while they learn about life and experience the positive emotions as well as the harder ones are at the heart of this book. Being mindful of children’s mental health and being gentle with them whilst also celebrating them is a simple yet key reminder for all,” a reviewer wrote about the book.


Loss related to Coronavirus or having to stay away from loved ones because of the pandemic can be incredibly difficult for young children to understand. Younger readers will find solace in Fofo’s story as some of the emotions they are experiencing are being felt by this story’s hero as well. Parents will also find the book to be a useful tool in discovering ways to support their children during times of need and distress as Fofo’s teachers did for her.


“The Brave Little African Girl”

By Thabitha Mathabatha

ISBN: 9781728351872 (softcover); 9781728351865 (hardcover)

Available at the AuthorHouse Online Bookstore, Amazon and Barnes & Noble


About the author

Thabitha Mathabatha is an experienced writer, world traveler, and explorer. Based in South Africa, she holds a National Diploma in Town and Regional Planning, a Master’s in Development Studies, and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB). She is finalizing her master’s degree in building project management in construction and was admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa. Mathabatha is also a sangoma and traditional healer utilizing traditional ways and traditional medicine to heal people. “The Brave Little African Girl” is her debut book. She has four adult children.


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