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 South African Children's Books by Donald Woodburn

He Sneezed On Me

Librarians and students across Durban have fallen in love with He Sneezed On Me, the latest offering from Donald Woodburn. They have described it as “revoltingly fantastic”, “wonderfully imaginative”, “fabulously funny”, “playful” and “gleefully captivating”. It is funny indeed!

Donald’s words take you on a comic romp through the world of snot, delighting children from 4 to 100 years of age - with slimy aplomb! In his capable hands no nasty adjective is safe, no snotty taboo is out of bounds and squeamish personalities are left begging for mercy.

Critics have said that this snotty story showcases Donald’s growing confidence with rhyming verse. Its rhythm is delightful, it scans well and it is full of youthful energy!

The illustrations too are a hit. Greg King, an old school friend of Donald’s, helped bring this sticky story to life. He lights up each page with a myriad of colours and a celebration of the most evocative greens and yellows. And Greg is a wonder with characterisation too. You will just love his monster! Greg has been at the game of cartooning and drawing since childhood and his confidence simply splashes off the page. Drawing is clearly one of his great passions. You have to see this talent in print!

He Sneezed on Me childrens Book by Donald Woodburn

What The Librarians & Teachers Said:

He Sneezed On Me is a glorious fantasy confronting us with the yucky, everyday reality of snot ( which we prefer to ignore). It is a deliciously tasty tale written for monsters of all ages - and there are lots of monsters out there who will lap it up! Fabulously funny and playful. Grab your self a copy right now!  (call Donald for your nearest stockist on 084 770 9557)
Brigitta Simpson
Pinetown Boys' High School

I found myself revolted, addicted and filled with a wicked child-like
sense of fun. The rhythm and language bombard the senses and ensure greater
delight with each reading experience. If Dr Seuss and Roald Dahl are high on your reading list then this book is a must for every child irrespective of age.
Lynn Cutter
Teacher – Librarian
St Mary’s DSG, Kloof


This is a revoltingly descriptive story, gleefully captivating the imagination of children. It most definitely shakes the mucous membranes of the literary world.
Tanya Reece
Grade R Teacher
Kiddies Corner – Nigel

Illustration from Donald Woodburn and Greg Kings "he sneezed on me


What The Children Said:

The most slimetastic and snoteriffic book I’ve ever read. I love it!

Carissa Blair
Grade 7
Maris Stella, Durban

A short history of how Donald Woodburn came to be an author, and then a publisher

Donald began freelancing at the SABC in 1997. While he was working in the training department he soon saw that although South Africans have a lot of dreams, they often seemed to suffer from a serious dose of self doubt when it came to speaking in the public domain. He became quite troubled by how our rather well developed sense of political freedom did not necessarily translate into a sense of freedom to stand up and speak. To stand up and be heard!

He wanted South African’s to enjoy the freedom of using their voices without fear of vocal judgement. He wanted us to embrace our own thoughts and voices and to use them dynamically. He wanted us to speak from within our life experiences. He wanted us to embrace our diversity in sound and to celebrate our racial, cultural, class, gender, sexual, and political differences.

In February 2002 he had a huge and very public argument with someone about how vocal expression in South Africa is still so governed by old fashioned views of language usage. The next day, still seething with anger, a story came into his thoughts and would not go away. That story was called The Boy Who Sounded Different. After a few hours of mulling over the story Donald sat down and wrote it out - and the writing flood gates opened.

At first he simply thought the process was quite interesting in a therapeutic sense. He showed the stories to his family and to some close friends. They were very enthusiastic about his writing and the content, and encouraged him to take it further. As he kept writing, as he revisited his stories, and as the months passed, he started thinking about getting them published. Luckily through his family Donald met illustrator Catherine Falconer (nee Feek) and they set about exploring a way forward with getting published.

Catherine first saw the stories in mid 2002 and began experimenting with illustrations for All The People Of The World almost straight away. After an early co-creative misfire, they set about defining a style, a vision and a way forward! With style and brief in hand Catherine began the long slow process of bringing All The People to life. Donald and Catherine bounced ideas and drawings back and forward for many months, until they found themselves with a product that exceeded Donald’s expectations. He loves the style that they found and explored and is so pleased that he was able to work with her on his first two books.

In mid 2002 Donald began to seriously investigate how to get published, and soon realised that the process was extremely difficult. After 18 months, tons of discouragement and a number of quite unprofessional experiences with publishers, he gave up on the local publishing scene. Disappointed he did not even entertain the idea of looking for foreign publishers. Then suddenly one day in July 2004 he made the decision to self-publish. And the rest as they say is history. All The People Of The World came off the printing press on 03 September 2004.Thandi Counts To Ten came off the press on 30 May 2005 and He Sneezed On Me made it into his hands in finished form on the 14 September 2006.

Illustration from Donald Woodburn and Greg Kings "he sneezed on me

More on publishing

After working with Catherine on his first two projects, Donald got to work with award winning theatre director and designer Greg King on He Sneezed On Me. Although Donald was nervous about changing visual styles, Greg who has cartooned for years, soon put his mind at rest. His line drawings were amazing, the final inked product more so and Donald soon realised that the content in Sneezed definitely lent itself to Greg’s cartoon style. He now looks forward to exploring further work with a number of different illustrators!

Donald says that self publishing was the best decision he ever made. It gave him creative control of the product, and it allowed him to make all the decisions from paper quality through to book size, layout etc and to get a product that matched the vision in his head.

He says that all said, done and experienced, he strongly recommends that children’s authors who find the local publishing industry unwelcoming should go it alone. He says the experience is rather empowering and that the creative satisfaction is enormous, and easier than you think!

New face from Donald Woodburns book "all the people of the world

Donald Woodburn’s school and library visits

Donald believes very firmly in giving back to the community. As a result he visits schools and libraries free of charge. If you want him to read to your students, talk to them about creativity, language, self expression or self worth, then please give him a call.

(He currently lives in Durban and also travels to Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg often. If you would like him to visit your school or library outside of these three towns, you would need to pay for his transportation and provide accommodation if necessary.)

Visits thus far

Cottonfield Daycare, Kiddies Corner, Clifton, Dbn
Pitlochry Primary
St Mary’s DSG for Girls (Kloof)
PBHS – staff and students
Sandton Crawford
Key note address – KZN MTA AGM (Voices in SA)
Book signing at Fascination Books (Gateway)- October
Book signing at the NSA – November / December
SABC - Radio and TV interviews

Camelot (Glenwood)
Cowies Hill Pre-Primary
Kiddies Corner
Read-a-thon Week 2005
Rosewood Waldorf School
Thomas More
Key note address and second day address – KZN MTA Conference
    (Hidden Power of the Librarian)
    (Self Publishing in SA)
Guest Speaker – Penzance Primary Prize Giving
Book signing at the KZNSA – November / December
SABC - Radio and TV interviews

Guest Speaker – Hillcrest Christian Academy – Media Centre Opening
Chelsea Prep
Pinetown Boys High School (Poetry Day Guest Poet & Author)
Lynford (Ixopo)
St Benedict’s (Pinetown)
SABC - Radio interview

How to lay your hands on a copy

You can contact Donald Woodburn directly on 27 84 770 9557 or by email
Or you can buy the books from the following retail outlets

In Durban @
Adams Books
Fascination Books
The KZNSA Gallery Shop

In Pietermaritzburg @
Adams Books
Exclusive Books

In Johannesburg @
Exclusive Books, Hyde Park
Exclusive Books, O.R. Thambo International Airport
Piece, The Firs @ Rosebank
Piece, Mandela Square, Sandton
Polly Potter’s Toy Store

Donald Woodburn has authored a number of books in his series utilising african icons and themes bonded to key learning principles for children.

Please contact him directly on 27 84 770 9557 or email him.

All the people of the world, childrens book by Donald Woodburn


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