Parents of young children and the government of Nigeria have been called upon by authors and stakeholders to ensure that early child education is balanced with picture books that have depths in cultural values and history so as to aid the development of the creative mentality of toddlers. An author and convener of the Akada Children’s Book Festival (ACBF), Olubunmi Aboderin Talabi, asserted that African books help young children get familiarized and acquainted with their immediate environments.
This statement was made by Talabi during a discussion in Lagos as she emphasized that picture books that have depths in indigenous moral and cultural values of the immediate society of a child are helpful for the improvement of a toddler’s creative mentality. African books that are embedded with pictures help children gain more exposure to their environment. She stressed that it is necessary for Nigeria to ensure development of the creative skills of children beyond “lip service”.
Nigeria ought to have books that teach kids that “A is for Amala”.
Through picture books, the culture and values of Nigeria and Africa, as a whole, is inculcated into young minds. The ACBF convener added that instead of the widely used “A is for Apple”, Nigeria ought to have books that teach kids that “A is for Amala”. Speaking on the Akada Children’s Book Festival (ACBF), Olubunmi said that the organization of ACBF is to display children’s books authored by African writers. Books from across the globe majorly written for diverse children audience.
ACBF concerns itself with showcasing literary works that are generally made for a diverse audience of children. The festival is regarded as the first and largest Nigerian children book festival specifically organized for young readers. The Convener added that the maiden edition of the festival was held in 2019, four years ago. However, as a result of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the second and third editions, 2020 and 2021, of the festival were held online.
Theme for the 2023 edition — “Through the Pages”.
The online editions of the festival were held with participants from within Nigeria and from across more than 23 countries around the world. However, the third edition of the Akada Children’s Book Festival (ACBF), 2022, was an in-person organized event. Likewise, this year’s edition of the festival, 2023, will be an in-person event. The theme for the 2023 edition of the ACBF is “Through the Pages”. Noma Sodipo, author and facilitator, stressed the roles of parents and schools in Nigeria in achieving the goal.
Noma Sodipo said that they were not encouraging the usage of children’s books written in indigenous languages for the promotion of the cultural heritage of Nigeria. She added that the children’s book festival slated for Saturday, September 23, 2023, will feature story time sessions, a book exhibition, insightful sessions for parents and teachers, drama, book readings led by authors, book chats, professional workshops for children’s book writers, illustrators and publishers, mini workshops for children, music, and many other activities.
Promotion of the culture of reading for pleasure from a young age.
According to Sodipo, the activities organized for the festival will promote the culture of reading for pleasure from a young age. The festival will also aid improvement of access to age-appropriate, non-academic books. Also, the ACBF will feature chess tournament, sip n paint, featured books, art exhibition, young authors spotlight, fun workshops for children, and will announce of the winners of writing and illustration competition. The Akada Children’s Book Festival has membership with the Global Association of Literary Festivals.
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