Marieta McGrath is a South African freelance writer, poet, author and translator. She has recently translated the divorce recovery book for kids, ‘The Mending Chronicles of Liam and Emily‘ into Afrikaans. The title is ‘Die Reis van die Dapper Hart’.

What are you are passionate about?

I’m passionate about words and working with words. I love finding that precise word and description to accurately describe something and give it beauty. Words have emotional weight to them, so I love to convey the exact emotion and sense that comes with each word. As a poet, I’m prone to brevity, so I try to say things in as few words as possible. Actually, I think many poets are translators, it’s two skills that go well together.

What attracted you to this project?

The project itself excited me because it is unique. I haven’t seen a book like it for children of this age group (6-12yrs old) that can help work through the emotions of divorce trauma. It’s a Christian book, which I am also very excited about because I believe that the Bible has a lot of wisdom to offer in this context. Having children of my own, I can relate to the difficulty that they have in talking about their emotions. They don’t always have the vocabulary to express themselves. This is one of the strengths of the book. It provides an emotional vocabulary for a child with which to explain how they are feeling, which I think is amazing.

What have you enjoyed about the book?

When I first read the book, I actually cried a bit. The story is so well written with such emotive language, I was really moved. I can see how it really applies to children in that situation. Children relate well to stories, even adults do too! We learn better through stories – there’s a reason why Jesus told parables. You can’t give a child a list of information, but if there is a character to relate to, they can learn a lot more. Also, they can be assured that there are other children going through the same thing, even if they are fictional characters. The artwork is beautiful and there’s the workbook aspect, so a child can draw and write, so it’s really theirs. I think it’s wonderfully designed.
I liked the Bible verses! It’s fantastic that a child can read a Bible verse and hold onto it and make it theirs. I think even I should take some of those Bible verses and hold onto them and repeat them to myself, it’s so good.

What other projects have you been working on?

I have done one other translation project. I translated ‘How to be filled with the Holy Spirit’ by AW Tozer into Afrikaans. ‘Hoe om vervul te wees met die Heilige Gees’ is the title. My first children’s book was published in 2021, it’s called ‘Die groot kompetisie’. My poems continue to give me great pleasure. They have won several competitions and been published in magazines and journals and been part of anthologies. I am presently working on a collection of my poetry and we’ll see where that takes me.