Not Science Fiction But...
Because most children's books don't come with genre labels the way adult fiction does, I have to take fairly wild guesses as to whether a book is sf. On the blurb both these books walked and quacked like sf, but neither are. I'm listing them here tho' simply because they are interesting books.
Being told that a writer is an "environmental educator, author and cartographer" is enough to make the heart sink. Welcome to didact city! But not at all: this time travel fantasy in which four children, two Xhosa, and two Cape Colored, slip back in time during a school trip is a genuine delight. Absorbed by a local group of (now extinct) /Xam (ancestors of Sam/Bushmen) they learn another way of life structured around looking after the land and mysticism. There are some icky bits--I am not convinced that humans of the past lived in harmony with the land; I suspect we've always been rapacious little buggers--but on the whole Slingsby produces a really excellent ethnographic fantasy.
I don't know how much of a theme it is, but the few chidren's books from South Africa I've read all suffer a little from Power Rangers Diversity: you know, one of each color. I don't know how to read this book because I'm not part of the culture, but in it the black girl becomes a hunter, the black boy a spirit painter (because he is the one who can read the paintings) and the mixed race girl marries into the tribe and becomes a carer. It's the fairest boy, the one who looks white, who becomes the Shaman, the one who knows. I winced a bit, but I suspect I'd have winced a bit whatever the arrangement. A very vexed issue.