“A person who had never listened to nor read a tale or myth or parable or story, would remain ignorant of his own emotional and spiritual heights and depths, would not know quite fully what it is to be human,” Ursula K. Le Guin.
Often the path to hell is filled with good intentions. This old saying, is what the book “The Big Fat Naughty Cat” is all about. The book is a tale about a little girl called Lira, her family and a cat. With good intentions, Lira takes a fat dirty and ugly cat, always feeding on trash bins to her home – where it received a warm welcome. However, Lira and her family are thwarted when the Big Fat Naughty Cat does not appreciate their thoughtfulness. The cat started being ill-behaved around the house, ended up destroying Lira, her family and friends.
The author, Buhle Mthethwa who was only 10-years-old when she published her book in 2017 says she is on a mission to instil a culture of reading in her peers, one book at a time, starting with The Big Fat Naughty Cat. The aim is to promote literacy among other things and also want children from underprivileged background, to see themselves in a book.
It’s been widely noted that children living in destitution or in underprivileged communities do not read, let alone having interest in finding books with illustrations and characters they can resonate with. The rising author, capitalised on this and decided to pen down a children’s book, targeting kids between the ages of four to fourteen years. The Big Fat Naughty Cat, which took Buhle three months to finish, was hand wrote on an exam pad with illustrations. When done, she asked her mother, who is a director of Invest South Africa at the Department of Trade and Industry, to publish the book for her. Buhle was inspired by other children’s books and her favourite TV shows when she decided to write The Big Fat Naughty Cat. Since she published her book, she has been receiving support from brands, including Cell C, which agreed to sponsor 1 000 copies to be donated to Thabaneng Primary School.