Cape Town Book Fair
Kids Zone

Free entry for all kids and students. All kids need to be accompanied by an adult.


Marjorie grew up on a farm near De Doorns in the Hex River Valley. All her life animals and fairies and people and dinosaurs and children and dragons and monsters have been part of her world. She writes and tells about them and she draws them. They appear in all shapes and sizes in the more than 80 books that have been published of her work. She lives with her husband next to the sea in Gordon's Bay near Cape Town. Their two children are grown up, Alexia is a doctor and Markus is a computer programme. Marjorie's studio is in the loft with windows overlooking False Bay and she can look at an ocean full of monsters and thingies while she writes and illustrates her books.

Her Website is at

Many thanks to Marjorie for supplying her beautiful illustrations for use on our website and
our Kids Zone.


My Pictures Tell Stories by Marjorie van Heerden

I started to draw when I was very young. I drew everything I saw and I even drew things I thought about, like dragons and fairies and monsters. To me drawing was like talking, like telling a story. Often I found it easier to draw something than to explain it in words. Today it is still the same for me.

When I was little my favourite book was Ferdinand the Bull, a story about a little bull who loved smelling the flowers. He did not like to fight like all the other young bulls. I was four years old when my mother first read Ferdinand to me. I remember being fascinated with how the words made pictures in my mind as I listened to them. And I loved the way the pictures in the book were drawn. Some pictures showed far away scenes with big empty white areas on the rest of the page. Other pictures showed figures in close-up, completely filling the page. I wanted to draw pictures like that � pictures that tell a story. So I did. I remember drawing a picture of a lot of sheep in a field with one sheep looking up, one looking right and another looking left. Every sheep in my picture looked towards a different place. My picture was telling a story.

Today I am an illustrator and a writer of children's books. Sometimes I write the story and draw the pictures. Sometimes I illustrate a story written by somebody else. Then I first read the story over and over again. I let the words form pictures in my mind's eye. I let the characters in the story become alive in my mind � I actually see them. I do this until the whole story becomes like a film playing inside my head - picture after picture after picture. Then it is time to start drawing.

The words and the pictures are like best friends. They cannot be without each other. Both must be there to tell the story really well. They work together like close partners. A little bull who loved smelling the flowers taught me that!

Over the years I drew many, many pictures. Just in the last five years I've had to draw lots of people and animals and wizards and dragons and fairies and goblins and gargoyles and dinosaurs that talk and even a magical moonchild. I've also had to draw monsters, lots and lots of monsters. I even drew a plant called a delicious monster! And I placed them in magical forests, or in huge castles covered in silver moonlight, or on the shores of wild seas or under the waves. And I painted whole worlds on my paper in the colours I love.

Anything is possible if you have a crayon in your hand and a blank page in front of you.

I really, really love what I do... I draw pictures that tell stories!